Sabine Lisicki of Germany hits a forehand at Wimbledon this year.
Sabine Lisicki of Germany hits a forehand at Wimbledon this year. Ben Curtis

Women to return to Kooyong Classic in 2017

TENNIS: Women will feature at the Kooyong Classic in January for just the second time in its history and the first time since 1993.

German Sabine Lisicki, the 2013 Wimbledon runner-up, will join Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic and Romanian Sorana Cirstea in a round-robin fixture that serves a warm-up event to the Australian Open.

The exhibition tournament will be held from January 10-13 at Melbourne's famous Kooyong courts.

The only other time women have contested the event was in 1993 when Rachel McQuillan beat fellow Australian Nicole Provis in the final.

However, tournament director Peter Johnston said there was a growing demand for greater opportunities to tune up for the Open.

"The feedback from the players and coaches was clear that the appetite is there for matches at Kooyong like the men currently have,” he said.

"So it's a great option for the players, and there's no doubt that from an event presentation point of view, the inclusion of women into the field will broaden the appeal.”

Bernard Tomic, the champion from 2012, will headline the men's draw alongside Belgian world No.12 David Goffin, who won the title last year, and French veteran Richard Gasquet.

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