Elina Svitolina and Gael Monfils have signed up to start their 2023 seasons at the ASB Classic in Auckland, the tournament announced. Svitolina, 29, has no previous appearance in Auckland as she is set for her tournament debut.
On the other side, 37-year-old Monfils played twice in Auckland in the past. After losing in the Auckland first round in his tournament debut in 2007, Monfils returned to the tournament in 2013 and reached the semifinal. Between January 01-07, the WTA Auckland is scheduled to take place.
The following week, the men's tennis event in Auckland will be taking place.
Auckland tournament director on Svitolina, Monfils coming to New Zealand
The Auckland organizers seem to be absolutely thrilled to have signed former world No 3 Svitolina and Monfils for the 2024 Auckland edition.
After giving birth and being out for 13 months, Svitolina made a very impressive return as she made the Wimbledon semifinal three months after coming back from a lengthy break and has also returned to No 25 in the world. "She carries a lot of weight on her shoulders now, being a mum, an ambassador for the charity of the Ukrainian president (Volodymyr Zelenskyy) and being vocal about what’s happening there, and also focusing on her comeback.
What she’s done this year is pretty spectacular. Coming back from pregnancy normally takes a lot longer to get back to the top level, but she’s extremely strong and motivated," Auckland tournament director Nicolas Lamperin told Stuff.
Monfils, ranked at No 77 in the world, may not make the main draw cut for Auckland. But in case that happens, the tournament will gladly give a main draw wildcard to the Frenchman. “His current ranking is 77 and the cut-off last time was 65.
It’s hard to know where the cut will be next year, but if he needs a wildcard then we’ll give him one for sure," Lamperin said of Monfils.