Serena Williams will not defend title in Auckland, with no ASB Classic in 2021

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Serena Williams will not defend title in Auckland, with no ASB Classic in 2021

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ADB Classic in Auckland will not take place in 2021. Tournament director Karl Budge said the organizers did their best to stage the tournament, a task that became impossible with the quarantine and all the other restrictions set by the New Zealand government.

Determined to start all over in 2022, Budge believes they will take the event to the next level in the years to come, offering the crowd a chance to enjoy in the top-tier tennis. This year's edition took place in the second and third weeks of the season, serving as the last preparation ahead of the Australian Open.

Serena Williams claimed her first WTA trophy in three years, followed by Ugo Humbert who prevailed over Benoit Paire to lift the first ATP title in a career. Without Auckland, the players will kick off the season in Australia, pass the quarantine in December and follow strict rules in other events that lead towards the first Major of the season in Melbourne.

The ASB Classic in Auckland will not take place in 2021.

"Yeah, obviously, an incredibly sad day for us. We thought we had a robust plan, but unfortunately, there's not a pathway to a decision that we could have in the timeframes we needed, which led to the pretty challenging environment that we're in today.

It's an incredibly complex situation. There's no sort of one-off area that we met or didn't meet. There's a myriad of factors that we needed to work through. Unfortunately, there just wasn't the pathway to get to the point that any of us could have confidence that we could deliver a tournament of our standing in a timeframe that would enable us to do it.

We've had support from several stakeholders throughout this process. Despite a lot of good effort, we've just not been able to get to a position to get the decision we needed. Whether we like it or not, we have to cop it on the chin and move on.

We're going to be bloody steely in our determination to go and take the ASB Classic to new levels. We've been here for 60 years, and no virus will stop the ASB Classic becoming the annual showpiece that it's become and what we've known for many years.

We've got to make sure that we come back stronger. We've had incredible support from our sponsors, and the team that we've got here that work tirelessly on trying to make a summer of tennis happen. I think we owe it to them to do everything that we possibly can to ensure that we return in 2022 with a real statement," tournament director Karl Budge said.