2016 ASB Classic set to serve up best event yet
ASB Classic organisers named a further two star players for the 2016 field at a launch party this evening at SkyCity in Auckland. Two-time winner John Isner and 2015 runner up Caroline Wozniacki have been confirmed.
The 30-year-old American will return to Auckland in fine form having edged World Number Two Roger Federer en route to a Quarter Final appearance at the last Masters event of the season in Paris last week. It’s been another productive year for the American where he reached two finals, two semifinals and six quarter-finals to finish the year at World Number 11.
Isner is excited about returning down under “I’m looking forward to coming back to Auckland – the site of my first ever ATP title.”
“I have so many great memories and I’m sad I missed the tournament this year but next year I’m going to make it up to all those that come to watch,” continued Isner.
Defending finalist Wozniacki, who narrowly lost to Venus Williams earlier this year, will be looking to go one better in 2016. The former world Number One has captured 23 career titles and will be looking to use the fast courts of the ASB Tennis Arena to springboard her return to the World’s Top Ten.
On confirming her attendance in Auckland Caroline Wozniacki said “I can’t wait to play in Auckland. It’s one of my favourite tournaments of the year. It’s a great way to start the year and get some good matches under my belt before the Australian Open.”
Wozniacki is hoping to take on Venus Williams again “Last year I made it all the way to the finals to play Venus and hopefully we can get a rematch.”
Wozniacki and Isner join Williams and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a super star line up that is shaping up to be the strongest fields assembled in the events history.
There will be plenty of action for fans off court as well with organisers announcing a new entertainment precinct serving up two weeks of live action. Dubbed ‘The Serve’, the new fan zone will breach the current perimeters of the Arena pushing out in to the Domain to enable more fans through the gates.
“We sold out 14 of 20 sessions last year and every ground pass across the fortnight for the last two years. Creating an opportunity for more fans to enjoy the action was a crucial step forward” said Tournament Director Karl Budge.
The area will serve up daily live music performances featuring collaborations with some of New Zealand’s most iconic artists who will be joined by fashion shows, player appearances and all the tennis action on a giant screen. Building on the trend setting food offering from previous years, The Grill by Sean Connolly will keep fans fuelled whilst pop-up bars from Heineken and the Moët & Chandon Champagne Lounge will ensure this is the place to be across summer.
To kick off the Semi-Finals in fashion, iconic Kiwi designer Juliette Hogan will host a ‘Ladies that Lunch’ function on court prior to the start of the Women’s Semi-Final. Hogan, will be creating a bespoke garment for attendees and will design the four course menu in partnership with Kapiti.
In addition to the lunch, Hogan will also be dressing the stars of the ASB Classic for the iconic Players Party on the Saturday night prior to the event starting.
Organisers are delighted at how the event is shaping up. “On the court we are looking at having our strongest lines up ever assembled. It is extremely pleasing to see players of the ilk of Isner and Wozniacki joining the already announced Tsonga and Williams. There is going to be some great tennis.” said Budge.
“To combine world class tennis with the best of Kiwi fashion, food and music makes for a great experience for our fans. There is something for foodies, music lovers and those that just want to be part of the atmosphere.” Budge continued.
With more announcements due in the coming weeks, tickets will be at a premium with Thursday, Friday and Saturday sessions already close to capacity.
The ASB Classic is being hosted at the ASB Tennis Arena from 4 to 16 January.