• WTA

Sharapova set for Brisbane comeback, hires new coach

ESPN staff
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Maria Sharapova has not played since being stunned at Wimbledon in June © PA Photos
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Maria Sharapova will make her return to competitive action at the end of December at the Brisbane International, the organisers of the tournament have confirmed.

The Russian has not played since suffering a shock second-round loss at Wimbledon to Michelle Larcher de Brito in June, as she was forced to withdraw from the US Open and the season-ending WTA Championships with a shoulder injury.

The four-time grand slam champion will be back for the 2014 season-opener in Brisbane next month, but will first play former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic in an exhibition match on December 6 in Colombia, before moving on to Mexico City and Thailand for more games.

Brisbane International director Cameron Pearson said: "The calibre of the field assembled for Brisbane International 2014 is one of the greatest on record, and we're certainly looking forward to welcoming the world's top players to Queensland Tennis Centre in December."

Meanwhile, Sharapova confirmed the hiring of Sven Groeneveld as her new coach following the split from Jimmy Connors after one match. Sharapova had previously parted from long-term coach Thomas Hogstedt after Wimbledon.

Writing on her official Facebook page, Sharapova said: "I'm happy to announce my official partnership with Sven Groeneveld.

"We've been working together since I got back on the court and after seeing him on the opposing side for so many years, I'm excited to have him become a part of my team.

"It has been a very seamless transition and I have had a lot of fun with the hard work we have put in so far. Looking forward to the year ahead."

Elsewhere, Hong Kong will host its first WTA tournament after it was announced the Hong Kong Tennis Open will take place in September 2014.

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