Tennis - The ASB Classic in Auckland has grown in size and stature in recent years on the WTA Tour. This season, two of the more popular players among the fans - former world no. 1s Ana Ivanovic and Venus Williams - reached the finals much to the delight of tournament organizers.
And Venus was so happy with the event that she said she would encourage her sister, Serena, to come to Auckland next season. Now, Auckland Tournament Director Karl Budge wants to make a more concerted effort to get the world no.
1 to Auckland in 2015. Serena chose to play the Brisbane event this year, which happens the same week as Auckland. Speaking to The New Zealand Herald, Budge says, "I think the response will be favourable. We weren't a million miles away from getting Serena this year.
She was my No1 target this year. I know for a fact Serena sat in her hotel room with her agent and debated for some time where she was going to go in week one [this season]. One of the problems was she was defending champion at Brisbane." Budge says his choices are impacted by WTA rules which limit the tournament to have only one top 10 player in a year and also budgets and appearance fees.
"It's always a balancing act. There's always money for a good idea. We can probably afford to go out and get both of them [Williams sisters] if I know in March and figure out how to commercialise it. If it's done in September, you're left with what is in your budget at the start of the year." .