Karl Budge, the ASB Classic tournament director, says that there is a possibility that there could be more than one tennis event in New Zealand in January but it depends on how the global health and travel situation unfolds in the coming months.
ASB Classic Tournament Karl Budge on possibility of having more events in the New Zealand
Speaking to The Stuff, Budge says, "There’s a scenario where we can provide a solution for people, but there’s a lot of water to flow under the bridge.
First and foremost, we need to understand what access can look like, how we’d go about quarantine measures, what the restrictions would be once they got here. But I certainly think there is a scenario out there where we could host additional tournaments or prolonged events”.
In the current scenario, sports events with fans are permitted in New Zealand, which could be an advantage in hosting more tennis events but the situation in Australia will also need to be considered. The state of Victoria, has gone into a lockdown for the second time and Melbourne where the Australian Open is held in January is the capital of Victoria.
“We know we’ve got an incredibly safe platform. As more events are cancelled around the world, what could New Zealand do to provide a solution? So we’re really excited around what that could be, but there would need to be some high level conversations pretty quickly around what it could look like, to get an extended summer of tennis in New Zealand.
The challenge for us is going to be athletes being able to go to Australia. So that’s the piece which still needs some work." The ASB Classic is a joint ATP and WTA tennis event, played on outdoor hard courts. This year marked the 35th edition of the women's event and the 44th edition of the men's event.
Frenchman Ugo Humbert beat Frenchman Benoît Paire in the men's final while Serena Williams beat fellow American Jessica Pegula in the women's final. The Australian Open is scheduled to be held in Melbourne from January 18 to January 31st, 2021.