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November 21, 2018

One of the biggest names in Women’s sport has been added to the all-star line up for the 2019 ASB Classic. Wimbledon finalist and former world number five, Eugenie Bouchard will start her 2019 season in the City of Sails, announced today as part of the full field.

The Canadian is one of the highest profile sports stars in the world with her on court achievements matched by a number of blue-chip endorsements and front cover shoots of some of the world’s most read publications.

Bouchard, who burst on to the tennis scene after winning the Junior Wimbledon title in 2012, had a rapid rise up the rankings having won her first WTA title in Nurnberg and final appearances in Hobart, Kuala Lumpur, Wuhan and Osaka. However it was on her favourite Grass Courts of the All England Club that Genie really established herself in 2014, beating two world number ones (Kerber and Halep) and four seeds on her way to reaching the final – the first for a Canadian.

Bouchard is upbeat about her 2019 season following some strong results at the end of 2018. She reached the quarter finals in Birmingham, Gstaad and Taipei as well as the semi-final’s in Luxembourg going down to eventual winner and defending ASB Classic Champion Julia Goerges.

And she’s looking forward to coming back to the ASB Classic to start her year.

“I am really excited to be coming back to Auckland. I came there when I was very young and remember it being so beautiful. I’ll be focussed and ready to go, but I hope to see a little more of Auckland this time around.

“I felt really strong in my last couple of tournaments and it was nice to reach a semi-final at the highest level again. I know how to be a top ten player and I feel like I’m doing all the right things to reach my goals in 2019”.

Tournament organisers are wrapped to add some more star power to what is already featuring some global heavyweights.

“Genie is icing on the cake of what is going to be an incredible Women’s field this year. Three former world number one’s, three Grand Slam champions, our defending champion, the Olympic Gold Medallist and now one of the biggest names in the sport, it is going to be huge” said Tournament Director Karl Budge.

The announcement of Bouchard rounds out a strong Women’s Week field for the 2019 ASB Classic that includes super stars Caroline Wozniacki, defending champion Julia Goerges, Victoria Azarenka and Venus Williams in a line-up that’s proving to be one of the strongest in the events history.

World number three Caroline Wozniacki, the current Australian Open Champion, will be the top seed at the ASB Classic and the hot favourite in Auckland come January. The Danish star rose to number one in the WTA rankings earlier this year after her maiden Grand Slam win in Melbourne. Including the Australia Open, Wozniacki added another two more WTA titles (Eastbourne and Beijing) to her name this season increasing her overall career singles haul to 30 WTA titles.

Belarusian Victoria Azarenka will be returning to the ASB Classic after her previous appearing in 2006. The former world number one is currently ranked fifty-one after taking some time off following the birth of her son Leo in December 2016.

Her resume is impressive, twenty WTA Tour Titles including her two back-to-back Australian Open Grand Slam trophies (2012,2013) and another two Grand Slams in mixed doubles (2007,2008) and an Olympic gold medal for Belarus.

The legend that is Venus Williams will return after a one year hiatus. Venus turned pro in 1994, so she’s heading into her 25th year on tour. The 38-year-old has 23 grand slam titles and 49 WTA singles titles including the ASB Classic (2014).

ASB Classic defending champion Julia Goerges will be 2nd seed for the tournament after her career best year on tour. The powerhouse German broke inside the top ten and was named the WTA most improved player of the year. Her standout performance was at Wimbledon, where she reached her first Grand Slam semi-final before falling to 7-time Wimbledon Champ Serena Williams. 14th ranked Goerges loves the ASB Classic, she feels at home here and won’t be giving up her trophy easily.

The strength of the field is exciting for both fans and tournament organisers.

“I think this is the deepest and most exciting field we have put together. There are genuine global superstars, players we know play incredibly well here in Auckland and some new faces that are looking to make their mark” said Budge.

It will be a really interesting draw with the likes of Vika, Genie and Monica not having protection and could draw one of the top seeds. It means Monday and Tuesday will see Caroline, Goerges, Venus, Vika and Genie playing across two sessions. I am not sure we have had star power like that in one session as early as this before”.

Other notable inclusions include Su-Wei Hsieh from Chinese Taipei who was a semi-finalist this year in Auckland. After a strong start to the year Hsieh went on to capture a title in Japan and reach the semi-finals in Morocco. Hsieh has been some what of a giant killer this season having beaten World Number One Simona Halep at Wimbledon and World Number Three Garbine Murguruza at the Australian Open.

Rounding out our top four is Croatian number one Petric Martic who is coming to the ASB Classic in her best form yet. One of the most consistent players on tour this year, Martic jump almost 60 spots up the rankings off the back of a year that included a final and four quarter-final appearances.

Also returning is 33rd ranked Barbora Strycova. The petit Czech has been a regular finalist in recent years at the ASB Classic and will come to Auckland with real confidence having lead the Czech team to Fed Cup victory over the USA earlier this month.

On paper, the top two seeds, Wozniacki and Goerges will be the frontrunners, their recent form, rankings and longstanding relationship with the ASB Classic puts them ahead of the pack, but it would be foolish to count out the likes of Azarenka, Williams whilst Olympic Gold Medalist Monica Puig, and youngsters Sofia Kenin and Marketa Vondrousova will also pose real threats.

Full list of main draw players for the 2019 Women’s Week:
Caroline Wozniacki (3)
Julia Goerges (14)
Su-Wei Hsieh (28)
Petra Martic (32)
Barbora Strycova (33)
Venus Williams (39)
Kirsten Flipkens (48)
Alison Van Uytvanck (50)
Victoria Azarenka (51)
Sofia Kenin (52)
Monica Puig (53)
Viktoria Kuzmova
Rebecca Peterson (59)
Timea Babos (60)
Marketa Vondrousova (68)
Johanna Larsson (77)
Mona Barthel (80)
Lara Arruabarrena (82)
Stefanie Voegele (83)
Polona Hercog (84)
Tamara Zidansek (86)
Sara Sorribes Tormo (87)
Eugenie Bouchard (88)
Madison Brengle (89)

November 15, 2018

ASB Classic organisers have confirmed they’ve secured one of the hottest signatures on the ATP tour, teen tennis prodigy Denis Shapovalov.

The 19-year old Canadian sensation is continuing to make an impression on the ATP tour, his explosive style of play propelling him up the rankings, seeing him reach a high of world number 23 in June, becoming the youngest player to be ranked in Top 25 since Richard Gasquet in 2005.

It’s this form that saw him named the 2017 ATP Star of Tomorrow, being the youngest player to finish in the Top 100 after a season which saw him beating world number 1 Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro to reach the semi-final of the Montreal Masters.

During his maiden year on the ATP tour, Shapovalov became the youngest quarter finalist and semi-finalist ever an ATP Masters 1000 event, eclipsing the likes of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic.

Known as one of the most energetic and exciting players on the Tour, Shapovalov is excited to be returning to Auckland after enjoying his first visit to the ASB Classic earlier this year.

“It’s is a great tournament and I’m looking forward to being back. The fans were incredible last year and it’s so much fun – I can’t wait to get back on to centre court.”

“Auckland is awesome. I jumped off the Sky Tower when I was there last time. I’m not sure what I’ll do on this visit but I’m sure I’ll find something fun.”

ASB Classic Tournament Director Karl Budge is thrilled to have Shapovalov return to the ASB Classic for a second year in a row.

“We got a taste of what Shapovalov can deliver this year and we can’t wait to see more. There is no question he is a star of the future, and he’s delivering some big matches right now. He’s so athletic and dynamic, just so exciting to watch on court.”

“The ASB Classic has a reputation for showcasing the next generation of talent – Nadal, Federer, Wozniacki and Murray have all played here early in their careers. We gave Naomi Osaka a wild card in 2017, and Jelena Ostapenko made her name in Auckland before winning Roland Garros. We’re certain that Shapovalov is going to be another name to add to this list” continued Budge.

And some big names in tennis agree with tennis legend Pete Sampras believing Shapovalov will become a top two player, whilst seven-time Grand Slam Champion Mats Wilander compared him to two of the games greats.

“He is a serious talent. To be 100 percent honest, you cannot compare Shapovalov to any other youngster. He is a completely different level. It’s like watching a combination of [Rafael] Nadal and [Roger] Federer at 18 years old. He has the fire of Nadal and the speed around the court of Nadal and he has the grace of Federer. It’s unbelievable” said Wilander.

November 5, 2018

The ASB Classic has signed one of the most entertaining players on ATP tour with confirmation Gaël Monfils will join the Men’s line-up for the 2019 event.

The towering Frenchman is known for his supreme athleticism and showmanship on court, has 7 ATP titles to his name and has been as high as number six in the world rankings (2016). Former world number one Andy Murray has rated Gaël Monfils as the best athlete in tennis.

Monfils previous appearance in Auckland was in 2013 where he treated the fans to one of the most memorable matches of the tournaments history, defeating Tommy Haas in an epic 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 match.

“We’re stoked to have Monfils back at the ASB Classic this year, and we’re thrilled that he’s chosen to head to Auckland over defending his title at Doha. He is an absolute showman, an exciting player to watch and we know he’s going to entertain the crowd” said Tournament Director Karl Budge.

“Gaël’s 2013 match against Tommy Haas is one of the most memorable in tournament history, truly epic. It’s become one of those iconic matches that are referred to when people are talking about the ASB Classic. We can’t wait to see him back out on centre court”

The 32-year-old ‘Showman’ is also looking forward to returning to Auckland, and has confirmed his first stop in 2019 will be the City of Sails.

“I’m happy to be returning to Auckland. It’s a beautiful place and I love playing there. The crowd is always very active and I’ve been wanting to come back for a long time, so I’m glad to be able to make it happen” said Monfils.

Currently ranked 30 in the world, the 6’4 giant looks to be returning to his best form this year after winning his 7th ATP title in Doha. He then went on to reach  the final of the European Open, two more semi-finals (Argentina, Turkey) and three quarter-finals (Ecuador, Brazil and Austria).

Budge says, there’s no doubt Monfils will be one of the crowd favourites at Tennis Lane.

“Fans flock to see his exciting brand of tennis, he’s so talented and very entertaining. It’s going to be a real treat for our crowd to watch him live”.

With John Isner, Hyeon Chung, Roberto Bautista-Agut, Tomas Berdych and now Gaël Monfils confirmed, the men’s draw is shaping up to be the most entertaining in recent times.

October 9, 2018

The 2019 ASB Classic is shaping up to jam packed with star power following confirmation today a Victoria Azarenka will start her year in Auckland.

Azarenka joins the already announced Caroline Wozniacki (currently world number 2) and Venus Williams as Grand Slam Champions and former world number ones that have committed to starting their year in Auckland.

Together the three have enjoyed an incredible 133 weeks at world number one, have won 99 WTA titles, 10 Grand Slam titles and 5 Olympic medals.

“This field is certainly shaping up to be our strongest yet.  There is still the chance of another Grand Slam Champion and we know we have two more big names that will confirm in the coming weeks.  With the first round now split over two sessions rather than four, we are going to have what will probably be our strongest ever Monday and Tuesday of the Women’s event” said Tournament Director Karl Budge.

Azarenka has been a mainstay at the top of the Women’s game since breaking in to the top ten in 2009.  She rose to number one in the world for 51 consecutive weeks in 2012 having captured her first of back to back Australian Open titles.  She became just the third women of all time to achieve the ‘Sunshine Double’, winning both Indian Wells and Miami in 2016.

In 2018 the Belarusian has risen an incredible 154 spots on the WTA rankings as she strives to return to the top ten following the birth of her first child, Leo.

Whilst it may have been Serena that has grabbed the headlines, Azarenka too is flying the flag for sporting mums balancing life as a mother and as a professional athlete.

“Vika has been incredible since coming back on Tour.  She performed incredibly well at Wimbledon last year in her second tournament back and this year alone she made the Semi-Final’s in Miami, one of the biggest events of the year and recorded wins over top ten players.  What she is doing is incredible and we look forward to welcoming her and Leo to Auckland in January”.

The exceptional field of players secured for the 2019 event is exciting for tournament organisers and sponsors alike.

“We’re excited to see former world number one Victoria Azarenka return to the ASB Classic this year,” says ASB head of community and sponsorship Mark Graham.

“With Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki, we now have three Grand Slam winners heading to Auckland for the Women’s week – it’s shaping up to be a fantastic summer of tennis.”

With more players still to be announced over the coming weeks, the tournament is shaping up to be one of the most well rounded in history with some of the biggest names in women’s tennis guaranteed to be taking to centre court right from day one of the tournament.

October 4, 2018

Media Release
Wednesday 3 October

Organisers have confirmed that Caroline Wozniacki will return for another shot at the ASB Classic title.

The current world number two will be returning to the ASB Classic for the 5th time and looking to go one better than her finals appearance in 2018.

Wozniacki is coming off the back of an impressive year which saw the Danish star lift her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, taking a hard-fought win over Simona Halep in the final and returning her to the world number one position, exactly six years after last holding the top spot.

Wozniacki also took out the title in Eastbourne in 2018, racking up her 600th career match win and securing her second WTA singles title for the year. In the process she made a further final (Auckland), a semi-final (Doha) and three quarter-finals (Rome, Istanbul and St Petersburg).

Wozniacki’s stellar year means she has now captured at least one title every year for the last eleven years on the WTA Tour, and should mean she will qualify to defend her WTA Tour Finals crown in Singapore later in the year.

With an outstanding 29 WTA singles titles to her name, and 71 weeks as world number one, Wozniacki is one of the biggest names in the game and her success on court is matched by her popularity off the court as the face of Stella McCartney by adidas, her position on the front row of fashion weeks around the world as well as her three consecutive appearances in Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues.

Wozniacki was excited about heading back to Auckland, “I love playing in Auckland. The crowds are always great and provide a lot of energy on court.  I feel like I play well when I’m in New Zealand, making finals twice, but I really want to take home the winners’ trophy”.

Organisers are happy that they’re been able to secure the fan favourite for another appearance in Auckland.

“It’s great to have Caroline back.  Along with Venus we have two global superstars who we know play their best tennis at the ASB Classic.  Her breakthrough Grand Slam was well deserved and I know she is looking to add more silverware in Auckland.” said Tournament Director Karl Budge.

The ASB Classic will span for two weeks; the women’s tournament kicking off on December 31 to January 6 followed by the men’s tournament from January 7 to 12.