With a long list of leading women’s players names that includes Grand Slam winners, along with a promising group of young, aspiring female tennis professionals, the 2020 ASB Classic draw is world-class and sees the tournament elevated to a senior position on WTA tour calendar.
Including Serena Williams, with Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Ostapenko, Eugenie Bouchard, and Svetlana Kuznetsova all confirmed to be heading to Auckland, this edition might be seen as the graduation of the ASB Classic!
As the opening tournament of the Year, the New Zealand leg of the tour has always been an ‘option’ for players in their preparations towards the Australian Open. But over time, it has matured into now being an attractive addition in players’ diaries.
Including the hot talent of US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, Roland Garros semifinalist Amanda Anisimova, teen sensation Coco Gauff will be joined by the seventh-seeded Cici Bellis and the highly regarded Daria Kasatkina.
— Newshub Sport (@NewshubSport) November 26, 2019
Tournament Director Karl Budge is thrilled to have such high caliber players confirmed for the tournament. “This is clearly the best field we have ever had here in Auckland.
“It will be the first time we have had two top 10 players, when you then add in three further Grand Slam winners, our two times defending champion (Goerges) and the two best prospects on the WTA, you have an incredible line-up,” said Budge.
2020 ASB Classic includes World Class line-up
The full field includes a staggering 164 combined WTA titles with every player [aside three] having been a WTA champion previously. “There is just so much depth throughout the field.
“Our second to last entry was the gold medallist from Rio (Monica Puig). Players such as Garcia, Kasatkina and Carla Suárez-Navarro have all been in or just outside the top ten for some time, yet will be un-seeded here in Auckland.
“It is a staggeringly strong field,” says Karl Budge.
Fans will be impressed by the line-up, yet the most impressive fact is that the field has opted to visit Auckland – rather than travel to Australia – in January. It is due to the improvements in the quality of players, the competition, the facilities; that have improved year-on-year. The Stanley Street complex, along with the relaxed New Zealand environment, sees both young and established players return.
Williams brings huge Kudos
The tournament’s second seed needs little introduction. 23-time grand slam champion Williams. The American owns 72 WTA titles and will appear in Auckland for the second time. Kudos must go to Williams’ representatives, as much as the efforts of Karl Budge, gives the tournament a ‘leading lady’ to promote to attending fans and sponsors.
ASB CLASSIC 2020 🎾🎾
— Ticketek New Zealand (@Ticketek_NZ) August 29, 2019
Wishing to add this title to her list of 72, that signature will have attracted others. Although Caroline Wozniacki is another returning to the ASB leg; her sixth in succession. The 2018 Aussie Open winner is a fan favourite, and when the list of women is examined, it transitions Auckland from being optional to now looking like a major step in the calendar.
Even if the weather compared to Melbourne is much milder, warming into a New Year is a benefit for the organizers. With players transitioning from a Northern hemisphere winter to summer, playing in milder conditions is a positive step. Before you enter the cauldron of Melbourne Park.
‘Warming into the season’ is often the best method, and for all the women who chose the ASB Classic ahead of the Brisbane or Sydney International events, it is a viable choice. Choices that bring rewards to Auckland, and should be rewarding for all of the competitors.
The 2020 ASB Classic women’s tournament starts on January 6.
Embed from Getty Images