Former champions confirmed for 2018 ASB Classic
Agnieszka Radwanska and Roberto Bautista Agut announced
In the first of a string of player announcements set to be made for the 2018 ASB Classic, organisers have confirmed two former ASB Classic champions will be returning for another shot at the Auckland title. Agnieszka Radwanska, 2013 winner and former world number 2, and 2016 champion Roberto Bautista Agut have today been announced.
Radwanska, currently ranked 11th in the world, has been a perennial top ten player since making her debut in the games elite in 2009. The diminutive Pole plays the game like no other and is famous for her outrageous shot making and court coverage. The former Wimbledon finalist and 2015 Tour Finals Champion has had another productive year on tour, winning in Beijing (the highest level event on the WTA Tour), making the final in Sydney and appearing in semi-finals in New Haven, Tokyo and the Tour Finals in Singapore within the last 12 months.
Radwanska had a very strong end to the season in 2016 and will be looking to do the same again this year. “I had a great last couple of months on tour last year winning a major event like Beijing and two more semi-finals. It always gives you a lot of confidence going in to a new year” said Radwanska.
The two-time Junior Grand Slam winner is excited about returning to Auckland “I have never lost in Auckland so I have very good memories. It always amazes me that the crowds are full right from the start. You don’t get that at a lot of tournaments and makes it a great place for us to play”.
The ever-consistent Bautista Agut has had another strong year on tour winning two ATP titles (Chennai and Winston Salem), reaching three semi-finals (Gstaad, Munich and Sofia) and two quarter finals (Montreal Masters and Halle).
The Spaniard has played some of his best tennis in Auckland reaching the semi-finals in 2014 before his first ASB Classic title in 2016. The world number 13 player believes this is the best way to start the new season, “For me Auckland is great to start the new season and prepare myself for Melbourne. I like the court and have played very well there. Maybe I can win another title,” said Bautista Agut.
ASB Head of Sponsorship, Mark Graham, says it’s a pleasure to welcome two former ASB Classic Champions back to Auckland.
“It’s exciting to see the tournament start to take shape and we look forward to more player signings in the next few months as we build up to another exceptional ASB Classic this summer.”
These announcements are just the first in what is shaping up to be another incredibly strong line-up for the January tournament. Tournament Director, Karl Budge knows there is plenty more instore for fans, “It is always great to have two champions come back. Agnieszka plays a style of tennis like no one else. It is amazing to watch and she will combat some of the bigger hitters we have traditionally seen in Auckland. Roberto is almost becoming our new David Ferrer. He is super consistent and we know he loves playing here”.
“What is most exciting for me is we do not expect either of these two players, at 11 and 13 in the world, will be our top seeds,” continued Budge.
Record crowds are again anticipated for what has become the summer event in Auckland with ticket sales already twenty percent up on last year’s record breaking sales before a single player had been announced.
The 2018 ASB Classic will span for two weeks; the women's tournament kicking off on January 1st to 6th followed by the men’s tournament from January 8th to 13th. Tickets are available for purchase through Ticketek. You can purchase tickets either online, over the phone on (0800 842 538) or in person at one of the agencies listed on the event website.