Third-ranked Amelie Mauresmo will take her first step into the spring clay-court season when she joins top-ranked Justine Henin-Hardenne, former No. 1 Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati in next week's Family Circle Cup field.
It marks Mauresmo's first appearance on court since she sustained a back injury during a fourth-round match at the Australian Open.
The tournament is scheduled for April 10th -18th at the Family Circle Tennis Center at Daniel Island in Charleston, South Carolina.
"Amelie has really made her mark on the WTA Tour over the past few years, and we are delighted to have her back here in Charleston," said Family Circle Cup executive director Frankie Whelan. "With 16 of the Top 20 players in the world, this year's Family Circle Cup has a Grand Slam appeal."
Winner of 10 WTA Tour singles, Mauresmo hit a career high singles ranking of No. 3 earlier this year in February. In January, she reached her first final of the 2004 season in Sydney. A week later at the Australian Open, she suffered a left mid-back muscle strain in the fourth round, which forced her to withdraw from the tournament prior to the quarterfinals.
Over the next two months she withdrew from six tournaments because of the back injury and is making her return to the WTA Tour this week in Amelia Island. Last year on the WTA Tour, she reached the finals of six events, winning two (Warsaw and Philadelphia). During the 2003 season-ending championships in Los Angeles, she upset world No. 2 Justine Henin-Hardenne before losing the final to Kim Clijsters.
The 24-year-old Mauresmo will be making her fifth appearance at the Family Circle Cup. Her first appearance at the Cup came in 1998 where as a qualifier she lost in the first round to Patty Schnyder. Her best tournament result at the Family Circle Cup was in 2001 when she advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to the No. 1 seed Martina Hingis 7-5, 6-2.
For more information on the Family Circle Cup and the Family Circle Tennis Center, please call (800) 677-2293 or (843) 856-7900. Information can also be accessed by contacting the tournament's official website at Family Circle Cup.