US Open champion Sam Stosur has confirmed she will begin her quest to claim the 2012 Australian grand slam title at the Brisbane International.
The world No.7 gave well-wishers at a Gold Coast ceremony honouring her and champion hurdler Sally Pearson another reason to cheer when she locked herself in for the January 1-8 event.
After returning to Australia on the weekend, Stosur said an Australian Open title would “top” her stunning US Open triumph over Serena Williams.
She begins her Australian Open countdown in Brisbane after confirming she would join the 2012 field that also boasts Maria Sharapova.
Stosur – who hails from the Gold Coast – is enjoying a well earned break on the tourist strip before cranking up her preparation for the Australian summer campaign.
Stosur and Pearson received the Gold Coast’s keys to the city at a packed ceremony at Southport on Monday.
“It is a very exciting time for me and it is great to be able to come home and share what has been a huge achievement with my family and friends in Queensland,” Stosur said.
“I don’t get the chance to get home often so to have this time is very special.
“It also seemed to be the perfect time to confirm that I would be back again in January to play at the Brisbane International.
“It is my home state and home tournament and I can’t think of a better way to kick off the tennis year.”
Stosur said it would mean a lot to compete at the 2012 tournament after the venue bounced back from January’s flood damage.
“I am looking forward to the event and cannot wait to see the new facilities following the floods last year,” she said.
“From what I have heard the facilities will be even better.
“Hopefully I can bring my best US Open form to the event and be in with a chance to win my first Brisbane International title in 2012.”
The Brisbane International has been elevated to “Premier” status on the WTA tour in 2012, ensuring no restrictions on the number of top 10 players as well as increased prize money.