ASB Classic glowing in girl power
ASB Classic organisers announced the strongest field in the tournaments history with tour glamour girl Ana Ivanovic added to the already confirmed headline acts of Venus Williams (7) and Caroline Wozniacki (17).
The former World Number One and Grand Slam Champion Ivanovic returns having conquered Williams in the final to take out the 2014 ASB Classic crown. The tall Serbian has captured 15 WTA titles including her Roland Garros success. The glamor girl of the WTA is one of the most sought after players on tour and will be looking to make it two titles in two appearances on the fast courts of Auckland.
With Ivanovic slotting in as second seed all eyes will be on which side of the draw Wozniacki will be placed in what could set up a super-star semi-final.
Other signings of note include two-time Grand Slam Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova (25) and rising American star Sloane Stephens (30). Stephens shot to fame in 2013 beating Serena Williams at the Australian Open and peaked at World Number 11 later that year. An assault back to the top ten looks a real prospect for the powerful American in 2016 having captured her first career title in Washington DC earlier this year.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (60) will bring colour to the ASB Tennis Arena. Known as the ‘Lady Gaga of Tennis’ she is not your typical tennis player sporting tattoos and an eccentric sense of style. However, she has the game to back it up having knocked out Ivanovic from Wimbledon in 2015 whilst also capturing two Grand Slam doubles titles in Australia and Roland Garros this year.
2015 semi-finalist Barbora Strycova (41) and Germany’s Julia Göerges (50) return as ASB Classic regulars.
Another powerful American Coco Vandeweghe (37) and Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck (43) round out the top eight seeds. Van Uytvanck has had a fruitful 2015 earning semi-final appearances in Luxembourg, Seoul and Katowice as well as French Open quarter-final.
“It’s amazing. Three former World Number Ones, three Grand Slam champions and two former winners in one year is an incredible result. Our strongest yet,” says Tournament Director, Karl Budge.
“Having Ana join Venus and Caroline was something we never thought was possible. The crowds can expect to be wowed by some great on court battles, as well as a good dose of glamour.” Budge continues.
"The ASB Classic continues to go from strength to strength in terms of its ability to attract the world's top tennis players to New Zealand," says Roger Beaumont, ASB's Executive General Manager for Marketing & Communications. "Local fans now have even more to look forward to with an enlarged tournament showcasing some of the biggest names in world tennis over two weeks".
Organisers have also had another win in the sponsorship stakes with New Zealand’s largest carpet supplier Godfrey Hirst NZ Limited joining the ASB Classic for a two year term through it’s Feltex and The Flooring Foundation brands.
Budge is delighted to be backed by Godfrey Hirst “Godfrey Hirst are one of the most well-known and trusted brands in New Zealand. They love tennis just as much as we do and we are proud to have them on the court with us.”
Tania Pauling, General Manager of Godfrey Hirst said “We are excited to be involved with this pre-eminent international event which brings the best of the world to New Zealand in a uniquely kiwi way.”
The ASB Classic kicks off on January 4th, 2016 at the ASB Tennis Arena in Auckland.
Full list of seeded women’s players for the ASB Classic 2016:
Venus Williams (7)
Ana Ivanovic (16)
Caroline Wozniacki (17)
Svetlana Kuznetsova (25)
Sloane Stephens (30)
Coco Vandewghe (37)
Barbora Zahalova Strycova (41)
Alison Van Uytvanck (43)
Mona Barthel (44)
Julia Göerges (50)
Lucie Hradecka (53)
Misaki Doi (54)
Johanna Larsson (56)
Danka Kovinic (57)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (60)
Christina McHale (63)
Carina Witthoeft (64)
Nao Hibino (66)
Alexandra Dulgheru (69)
Maria Tatjana (71)
Polona Hercog (74)
Daria Kasatkina (75)
Irina Falconi (76)