Tennis super-couple confirmed to compete at ASB Classic in Auckland
Tennis super-couple Gaël Monfils and Elina Svitolina have today confirmed they will compete at the ASB Classic in Auckland in January.
Monfils, the 37-year-old from France, is one of the most entertaining and enduring tennis players on the globe, rising to a career high sixth in the world on the back of 12 ATP titles.
Svitolina, who has climbed over 1000 spots to 25 in the world since returning to tennis following the birth of their daughter Skai, has won 17 WTA titles along with the Tour Finals title in 2018 and the Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo.
The ASB Classic will be the first time that the couple have played in the same tournament, outside of Majors or 1000-level tournaments, with Monfils returning to Auckland for a third occasion, and his wife venturing to New Zealand for the first time.
Monfils has twice played at the ASB Classic, losing to Alberto Martin in his early years on the ATP Tour, and making the semifinals 10 years ago. His first title was in Sopot, Poland in 2005 and his most recent was a brilliant comeback victory in Stockholm last month.
The Frenchman has battled injuries in recent years but the former world top ranked junior is looking to add to his 12 ATP titles. His durability is noted with a record of reaching at least one final in 19 straight seasons from 2005 to 2023. Before his Stockholm win, his previous best this season was the quarterfinal at the ATP 1000 in Canada where he lost in three sets to world #4 Jannick Sinner.
Monfils has won 540 career matches, and is often considered as the fastest player on Tour and a fan favourite.
His initial rise in the rankings was mercurial, jumping over 100 spots in three months at the start of 2005 and by the end of that year he had risen 190 places to the top-30. His best season was in 2016 when he won his first ATP 500 in Washington, reaching the final in Monte Carlo and the semifinal at the US Open. His efforts earned him qualification for the ATP Finals in London.
Svitolina, 29, had a career-high ranking of three in the world in 2017.
After being off the Tour for more than a year with the birth of her daughter, Svitolina returned eight months ago. She showed her class in her return to the Majors this year - losing to current world no. 1 Aryna Sabalenka in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, beating top seed Iga Swiatek on way to the semifinals at Wimbledon and losing to American world #5 Jessica Pegula in the round of 32 at the US Open.
Svitolina recently won the WTA 250 Tour title in Strasbourg to move to 25 in the world after being ranked outside the Top 1000 just three months previous.
She studies business, economics and nutrition and speaks fluently in Ukrainian, English, Russian and French.
ASB Classic Tournament Director, Nicolas Lamperin said the tournament is excited to have attracted Monfils and Svitolina to Auckland.
“Gaël is an extraordinarily popular figure who has achieved so much on and off the court, while Elina is an absolute force in women’s tennis, and rapidly returning to her best form.”
Tickets sales have been strong for both weeks, with tickets available at www.asbclassic.co.nz