Auckland tournament director Nicolas Lamperin reveals the ASB Classic had Naomi Osaka on its radar before they ultimately decided to focus on pursuing Coco Gauff and Caroline Wozniacki. Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, is missing the entire 2023 season but she is set to make her post-pregnancy comeback at the start of the 2024 season.
Reportedly, Osaka is eyeing to start her season at the United Cup. "It was part of my initial thoughts (to get Osaka). But I was being told she wanted to play the United Cup (in Australia), on the basis that she would get a minimum of two matches.
It was early in the process and we had to move on and get Coco and Caroline. The budget isn’t limitless, so we decided not to go after her in the end," Lamperin told Stuff.
Osaka won't be making her second Auckland appearance in 2024
Osaka, 25, made her first and lone Auckland appearance in 2017.
Back then, Osaka reached the quarterfinal before being forced to retire against Ana Konjuh just three games into the match. The Auckland organizers would have certainly loved to have Osaka signed up for the 2024 ASB Classic.
But even without Osaka, the Auckland event is set to feature some star-studded names. After Gauff, the tournament also announced Wozniacki as a participant for the 2024 Auckland edition. “It is going to be my children’s first time there.
It’s amazing that I can come back and prepare as well as I can for the Australian Open. I love the fans in Auckland. It is always such a great event. I have always had an amazing time there. I thought it was going to be the best place for my preparation and the best place for my family to come and start the new season," Wozniacki said in a statement after signing up for Auckland. It remains to be seen if Osaka will decide to return to Auckland in the future.
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