Tennis: Federer, Sharapova to defend Brisbane titles

AFP , Thursday 27 Aug 2015

Maria Sharapova
Russian five-times grand slam champion Maria Sharapova

Seventeen-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer and five-time major-winner Maria Sharapova will defend their Brisbane International titles in the lead-up to the Australian Open in January, organisers said Thursday.

Federer won his 1,000th match in a tight three-set final against Milos Raonic in 2015 and said he was looking forward to being back in Australia.

"I'm excited, especially after this year with the win and the 1,000th match win, it was like a picture perfect moment," said the Swiss world number two.

"I'm coming back maybe with a little bit more pressure next year having to defend (the title), but I've played there two years now and it's gone so well."

Federer became just the third man in history to win at least 1,000 matches, joining Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Connors.

Japan's world number four Kei Nishikori also confirmed he will play, as did Sharapova, who beat Ana Ivanovic in the 2015 decider.

"Everything around (the tournament) is great," said the Russian.

"The courts are great, the tournament director does an incredible job of making all the players feel like they're home and it's just a nice and special way to start off the year."

The tournament gets underway on January 3. 

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