The success of the 2016 Brisbane International is now in the hands of Roger Federer following the withdrawal of top draws from WTA competitors.
The first tournament leading up to the 2016 Australian Open received a big blow after losing two of the event’s big draws, Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep to injuries, posting possible repercussions at the first Grand Slam event of the year. However, Paul Malone of the Herald Sun believes Federer’s success could save the tournament.
“If pied piper Roger Federer makes it to finals day and forecasts of improving weather from Wednesday prove right, the 2016 Brisbane International will still no doubt be remembered as successful,” Malone wrote.
Sharapova, the women’s defending champion, pulled out of her first round match against Elena Makarova after injuring her left forearm during a practice. The WTA World No. 4 said she was forced to withdraw from the tournament as a precautionary measure for her campaign at the Australian Open later this month.
Just hours after Sharapova’s withdrawal, Halep, the tournament’s top seed, also withdrew from the event, citing an aggravated ankle injury that bothered her last year. Halep confirmed there was no major tear after getting an MRI on Tuesday, but it was the same injury that troubled her in August and September.
"I had problems with my Achilles in August/September and then I didn't feel it anymore,” Halep said, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. “But now I have a couple of weeks already again with the pain."
Halep also hopes to play at the Australian Open, but the Romanian admitted she would not force her way back into competing.
Meanwhile, Federer, who received a first-round bye in the Brisbane International, is set to open his 2016 campaign against Tobias Kamke of Germany. It will be the Swiss Maestro’s first competitive match after losing to Novak Djokovic at the final round of the ATP World Tour Finals in November last year.