World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty will end a nearly year-long layoff during a pre-Australian Open exhibition event in Adelaide later this month, organizers announced Thursday.
Dubbed "A Day at the Drive," the star-studded eight-player field also includes Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Naomi Osaka, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem and Jannik Sinner.
The event will take place at Adelaide's Memorial Drive Tennis Centre starting on Jan. 29.
Barty has not played a competitive match since last February. The 24-year-old Australian opted not to defend her French Open title and skipped the U.S. Open in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I am looking forward to playing my first match for the 2001 season in Adelaide," Barty said. "I have fond memories from the Adelaide International last year and it will be great to get back on court here for A Day at the Drive."
Barty, however, was spotted without a mask on a trip to the supermarket on Thursday, the Sporting News reported. Her manager noted that it was an "innocent mistake."
The Australian Open is set to begin on Feb. 8 in Melbourne.
--Field Level Media