Brisbane organisers sure of Sharapova, Williams

29122012C-Serena-WilliamsFrench Open champion Maria Sharapova and Wimbledon winner Serena Williams will be ready to play in Brisbane next week after overcoming injury concerns, tournament organizers said.

Williams of the U.S. pulled out of an exhibition in Thailand last week after she had surgery on her toes. Russia’s Sharapova withdrew from an exhibition this week in Seoul, Korea with neck soreness.

“I think Maria and Serena are the two biggest stars in women’s tennis so it’s great that they’re both going to be here and both be fit and ready to play the first tournament of the year,” tournament organizer Cameron Pearson said on the Brisbane International website.

The tournament, held from Dec. 30 through 6 January, is a warm-up event for the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 14 in Melbourne.

Eleven-time major champion Rafael Nadal of Spain earlier this week postponed his return to professional tennis after a seven-month absence. Nadal, who struggled with a knee injury since losing in the second round at Wimbledon, had been due to make his comeback at an exhibition event today in Abu Dhabi. He said on his Facebook page on Christmas Day he’d been ordered by doctors not to play because of a stomach infection.

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