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Danish star Caroline Wozniacki speaks during a press conference as a part of the Tennis Fest GNP 2023 in Mexico City on November 28. Image Credit: AFP

Melbourne: Caroline Wozniacki was awarded a wildcard to the Australian Open on Wednesday as the 2018 champion returns to Melbourne for the first time in four years.

The 33-year-old retired after the 2020 Australian Open to start a family but returned to the tour at Montreal in August.

The mother of two played her first Grand Slam in three years at the US Open and reached the last 16.

Wonderful memories

“I have so many wonderful memories of Melbourne and of course winning the Australian Open is an all-time career highlight,” said the Dane, who beat Simona Halep in the 2018 final.

“It’s obviously a tournament I feel extremely comfortable at. I love the balls, I love the court and I love the fans.

“I’m truly grateful to everyone for the wildcard and having the opportunity to compete again at the AO in January,” the former No 1, now ranked 242 in the world, added.

Wozniacki plans to bring Olivia, two, and one-year-old James to the first Grand Slam of the year from the Miami base she shares with her husband, the former NBA star David Lee.

The Australian Open runs January 14-28, with Aryna Sabalenka defending the women’s title and Novak Djokovic the men’s.