Latest 14 Dec 2023

Trio of Grand Slam Champions add sparkle to ASB Classic female line-up

by ASB Classic
Trio of Grand Slam Champions add sparkle to ASB Classic female line-up

Three Grand Slam tennis champions and a former world finals winner top the women’s final entries for the 2024 ASB Classic, confirmed today in Auckland.

The field is headed by world no. 3 Coco Gauff, who last year in Auckland won the minds with her performances on the court and hearts with her humanity off it. Still just 19 years, Gauff will defend her ASB Classic title when the women’s competition begins on 1 January at the ASB Arena.

Gauff went on from her Auckland success to push to her first Grand Slam title, fittingly on home turf at the US Open, with some remarkable displays.

She will be joined at the ASB Classic by the legendary Caroline Wozniacki, back to Auckland for a remarkable eighth time in her return to the game following time out for the birth of her daughter.

While the Danish star won the Australian Open in 2018 and the World Finals in 2016 among her 30 Titles, Wozniacki has been unable to claim the trophy at the ASB Arena in her seven previous attempts, twice making the final.

The mums are out in force at the ASB Classic, with Ukrainian Elina Svitolina choosing to compete in Auckland in her build-up for a return to the Australian Open, having taken more than a year out of the game with the birth of her daughter.

Svitolina, who had a career high No 3 in the world, has climbed more than 1000 spots to a world ranking of 25 in the few months she has been back in the game. The 2018 World Finals winner this year made the quarterfinals at Roland Garros and semifinals at Wimbledon.

“We are thrilled that Coco is returning to defend her title,” said ASB Classic Tournament Director, Nicolas Lamperin. “We all knew we were watching a young player of exceptional talent last year and she has gone on to prove that to the world this year.

“More than that, she touched the hearts of many off the court working with young kiwi players in South Auckland, and yet she is still a teenager and will continue to do great things on and off the court.

“We have two absolute superstar mothers in Caroline Wozniacki and Elina Svitolina. Their records speak for themselves and both have returned after birth of their children to already show they are still world class.”

Lamperin has awarded three high-profile wildcards, headed by Wozniacki, along with British player Emma Raducanu and American Amanda Anisimova, two young players who have faced the adversity of pressure and expectation after success as teenagers.

Like Gauff, a Slam winner at Flushing Meadows, Raducanu will re-start her career at the ASB Classic, after multiple injuries forced her to take a break from the game. Raducanu who won the US Open at just 19 as a qualifier and all in straight sets is returning to the Tour in full health and fitness and eager to start her journey back to the top.

Anisimova is a prodigious talent who quickly rose to No 21 in the world as a teenager. The American has faced challenges with the death of her father who was her coach and she took much of this year off citing mental health challenges.

After a spell at university, she returns to the ASB Classic where she reached the semifinal against  Serena Williams in 2020 and the quarterfinals in 2019. Anisimova is a two-time champion on the WTA Tour, winning titles in Bogota in 2019 and Melbourne in 2022. She also reached the semifinals at the French Open in 2019.

“Both of these players had remarkable success as teenagers and have both faced challenges since. They both have prodigious talent and both have returned still with a passion for the game and keen to re-find their way,” said Lamperin.

 “If we can help that progress with a wildcard entry for the ASB Classic, then it is the least we can do to play our part in the bigger picture of the welfare of our sport.”

There is significant depth in the women’s line-up which boasts 78 WTA career victories and includes both rising stars and proven performers.

That includes four-time winner Lesia Tsurenko from Ukraine, a long-time Fed Cup representative who will be the third seed ahead of American Emma Narvarro, a former Collegiate standout, who has jumped to 32 in the world rankings after two semifinals and two quarters in a moving year.

Watch too for the Chinese pair Xinyu Wang (right-hander) and Xiyu Wang (left-hander), who are not related, and ranked 36 and 72 in the world respectively.

“We see ourselves as a tournament that identifies and gives opportunity to young players on the rise, something this tournament is very proud of. Likewise we recognise those who continue to enjoy their time in Auckland and have supported us for many years, like Caroline who is back for the eighth time.”

There will be two New Zealand players given the chance to compete, with a qualifying tournament at the ASB Arena after Christmas, with qualifying to start on December 30  and the tournament-proper on January 1 to 7.

The ASB Men’s Classic will run from January 8-13, with Lamperin emphasising that ticket sales have been strong with several days already fully sold.

The full field is:


1. Coco Gauff (USA) World No 3, 2. Elina Svitolina (UKR) No 25, 3. Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) No 31, 4. Emma Navarro (USA) No 32, 5. Marie Bouzkova (CZE) No 34, 6. Xinyu Wang (CHN) No 36, 7. Petra Martic (CRO) No 40, 8. Varvara Gracheva (FRA) No 43, 9. Anna Blinkova No 50, 10. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova No 57, 11. Magdalena Frech (POL) No 63, No 12. Rebecca Masarova (ESP) No 64, 13. Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) No 68, 14. Xiyu Wang (CHN) 71; 15. Elina Avanesyan No 74, 16. Yue Yuan (CHN) No 77, 17. Emina Bektas (USA) No 87, 18 Kayla Kay (USA) No 89, 19 Jaqueline Cristian (ROU) 91, 20. Linda Fruhvirtova (CZE) No 93, 21. Diane Parry (FRA) 94, 22. Claire Liu (USA) 99.


Emma Raducanu (GBR), Amanda Anisimova (USA), Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)