Maria Sharapova might not feature at next year’s ASB Classic with the Tournament Director Karl Budge aiming for other players. Budge caught up with Sharapova's representatives along with agents of other leading players at Wimbledon recently.
Though he met the Russian’s representatives and hasn’t ruled out her participation, he admitted that Sharapova is not a priority at the moment. "My interest in Maria is slightly lesser than it is in a lot of players in the field, but we've had a conversation," Budge said.
"She's a marketable athlete, so she's someone you want to talk to for sure. But there are probably a couple of other players I'm looking to lock away first and foremost and once that's done, I'll look at what else we're looking to do,” he added.
Speaking about the entire process of getting a player to play at your event, Budge mentioned, "You try to lay the foundations at the earlier tournaments and cement them here. I'm feeling pretty happy, there have been a couple of handshake agreements and we now have to go to the next stage of getting some ink on paper. "I'm trying to put the finishing touches on the fields.
I'm starting to get a good direction and now I'm here I've got to fill it out." Speaking about the men’s side of the draw, Budge is yet to get a big name to his tournament but remains hopeful to sign Juan Martin del Potro.
“We've had a lot of chats with Juan Martin," he said. "He's a great player to watch. I'd like to see him out there but I don't know if that's going to happen. I don't have a handshake yet on the men's side, we've got a lot of players who I know want to come, but until I land my big fish I'm a little hamstrung with what I can do with the others. "I've got some work to do on that side and I'm running around here working on that.
We need to get our marker done and then we can know what the other plans are. Whether that marker is Juan Martin or someone else, we'll find out." ALSO READ Martina Navratilova Cannot Believe She Has Turned 60