Williams & Wozniacki team up for dream Doubles pairing
Superstars Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki have confirmed they’ll play doubles together for the first time at the ASB Classic next month.
The pair of tennis legends have had numerous battles on court but it’s their friendship off court that galvanized their decision to play doubles together in Auckland, one of the final tournaments the Dane will play before she retires.
“We’ve been wanting to play doubles together for a long time, but it just hasn’t worked out so I’m really excited that it’s finally going to happen, especially at one of my favourite tournaments on tour. It’s going to be so much fun!” said Wozniacki.
Serena Williams is widely considered one of the greatest athletes of all time, while Caroline Wozniacki was the first person from Scandinavia to secure the top world ranking. Together the duo have 102 WTA singles titles, 24 grand slam titles and spent a combined 390 weeks at number one.
Tournament Director Karl Budge says it’s very exciting to have this combination headlining the doubles draw.
“This is a pairing that I think tennis fans have been waiting to see for a long time. To have Serena and Caroline on court together, on the same side of the net, is an amazing opportunity for tennis fans to see history being made” said Budge.
“The top end of the week is going to be an absolute field day for fans. With so many big names on centre court as well as the outer show courts, Monday and Tuesday sessions are going to be one of the best value tickets you’ll ever buy. With Caroline and Serena playing singles and doubles, it is almost assured you will see at least one of them, if not both on each of the opening days” he continued.
In terms of doubles pedigree, Serena must be one of the best with 23 WTA doubles titles with her sister Venus, fourteen of which were Grand Slam titles, three Olympic gold medals and the number one doubles spot. This will be the first time Serena will play with somebody besides her sister Venus.
“I can’t wait to play with Caroline, she’s one of my best friends and I’m just so happy that we’re able to play a tournament together before she hangs up her racquets for good” said Williams.
Their friendship runs deep, with Serena performing bridesmaid duties at Caroline’s wedding to former NBA player David Lee in June this year, while Caroline is never far from Serena’s important milestones off court as well.
The world class players are hoping that their bond off court can deliver success on it.
The ASB Classic has also commissioned an official tournament korowai to present to the winner of the Women’s singles champion every year.
Six months ago, the team at the ASB Classic approached Ngati Whatua Orakei to create a contemporary Maori cloak to not only represent the ASB Classic but to also honour tennis icon Ruia Morrison.
“The ASB Classic has an invaluable relationship with Ngati Whatua Orakei as mana whenua and this latest collaboration is a testament to that. It’s a privilege for us to be able to work closely with them in the creation of this piece, and we feel it’s the perfect way to honour one New Zealand’s legends of the game in Ruia Morrison” said Budge.
The contemporary cloak was hand-woven by two local Ngati Whatua weavers, Ngahuia Robb and Kororia Witika who have worked tirelessly on the piece for five months.
The design of the cloak includes traditional Maori patterns to honour the achievement of the ASB Classic champion. The cloak also acknowledges all the players, volunteers, and tournament team who contribute to the success of the ASB Classic. The feathers are from a native duck of New Zealand, the putangitangi (Paradise duck). The black and yellow colour theme is from Ngati Whatua, and there are two green ferns along the top ridge to represent New Zealand.
The Ruia Morrison Korowai has today been be blessed by local kaumatua (elders) from Ngati Whatua and handed over to the ASB Classic. The korowai will be presented on court to the winner of the ASB Classic Women’s Singles title by Ruia Morrison.