Bengaluru/Doha, January 30: Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka is expected to return to competitive action in Doha after being given a wild card entry for the WTA Qatar Open to be held from February 12 to 18.
The Belarusian has been out of action since her fourth-round loss to Simona Halep in Wimbledon.
The 28-year-old, who is embroiled in a legal battle with her former boyfriend Billy McKeague for their son's custody was given a similar wild card entry in the Auckland WTA event and Australian Open, only to pull out at the last hour.
But chances of the two-time Grand Slam winner competing in Doha is more considering the fact she hired Slava Konikov as her new coach.
Azarenka, won the Qatar Open twice - in 2012 and 2013 the same time during which she won her two Grand Slams in Australia.
Shout out to Vika’s fans!Former No.1 Viktoria Azarenka had made a superb appearance in Doha winning the titles of Qatar Total Open 2012&2013. Do you think she can do the same this year? Buy your ticket Now and let’s watch Vika hitting Qatar’s Court again! https://t.co/nQJc4cd0sp pic.twitter.com/E7JhlfVM6N— Qatar Tennis Fed. (@QatarTennis) January 30, 2018
Along with Azarenka, former champion Maria Sharapova has also been given a wildcard-entry in the $2,666,000 prize-money event which is into its 16th edition.
The star-studded field for the WTA Premier 5 tournament is headed by newly-crowned Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki, runner-up Simona Halep, defending champion Karolina Pliskova, Wimbledon winner Garbine Muguruza and former world No. 1 Angelique Kerber.
Pliskova had defeated Wozniacki in straight sets in the last year's final at Khalifa International Tennis Complex.
"The fans are definitely in for a good time as they watch the stars doing what they know how to do best on the courts," said Tournament Director Saad Al Mohannadi.
Meanwhile, America's Coco VandeWeghe has pulled out from the tournament as she recovers from a viral infection caught while playing at the Australian Open.
Vandeweghe made it to the third round of the last year's event with straight set wins over Kirsten Flipkens and Belinda Bencic.
"We'll surely miss Coco but we wish her speedy recovery as we look forward to seeing her doing what she knows how to do best on the court as soon as possible. This year's event promises to be the best ever as all arrangements have been made to ensure a fun-filled week of tennis,"Al Mohannadi added.