Barty's tough Brisbane International draw

Laine Clark
Top seed Ashleigh Barty has a tough draw for the season-opening Brisbane International

A grand-slam champion potentially awaits in every round for Ashleigh Barty at the Brisbane International, with Australia's world No.1 handed a tough draw for the season opener.

The top seed will enjoy a first-round bye for the event which starts on Monday.

However, Barty will quickly be put to the test when she hits the court with a potential second-round clash with five-time grand-slam champion, Russian wildcard Maria Sharapova.

If successful, Barty might face dual Wimbledon champion and great rival Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic or US Open victor Sloane Stephens in the quarter-finals.

A potential semi-final showdown with three-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber looms.

And if Barty fights her way to the final, reigning Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka might well be be waiting.

Overall, five other grand-slam winners will feature in French Open champion Barty's side of the draw in Brisbane.

Japan's Osaka - who also claimed the 2018 US Open title - is the only major winner on the draw's other side which also features defending champion and world No.2, Czech Karolina Pliskova.

It shapes as the ultimate Australian Open warm-up for Barty who will arrive at Pat Rafter Arena as the overwhelming crowd favourite after a stellar 2019.

She claimed the world No.1 ranking after becoming the first Australian woman in 46 years to win the French Open.

Barty was the first Australian woman to reach No.1 since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1976 in a remarkable year in which she also lifted the WTA Finals trophy and led Australia to their first Fed Cup final since 1993.

But Barty's doubles partner in Brisbane - world No.9 and singles sixth seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands - was not surprised by the Australian's remarkable rise.

"I was impressed (by her rise) but, for me, it was not a surprise," she said.

"And I think she is handling it all well. And she is a nice person as well.

"I think she is the best player at this moment and she is having a really good time."

Barty skipped last year's Brisbane International to contest the Hopman Cup but suffered a shock first-round exit the last time she played at Pat Rafter Arena in 2018, going down to Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko.

Meanwhile, Australia's former US Open champion Samantha Stosur has a daunting first-round clash with Kerber of Germany.

And Alja Tomljanovic will meet wildcard Priscilla Hon in an all-Australian first-round clash.

Prize money for the Brisbane International - which is a women's-only tournament for the first time this year - has jumped from $US1 million ($A1.4 million) to $1.5 million ($A2.1 million) in 2020 with a $US250,000 ($A360,000) winner's cheque.