Latest 20 Dec 2022

Venus Williams confirmed as wildcard entrant

by Media
Venus Williams confirmed as wildcard entrant
Champion Venus Williams receives wildcard for ASB Classic return

One of the most endearing stars in tennis, seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams will be a wildcard entry into the ASB Classic in Auckland next month.

The remarkable 42-year-old, who retired from regular tournament play in 2021, has a wildcard to compete in the Australian Open, and accordingly sought a spot in the ASB Classic as a lead-in to the grand slam event.

Williams is a super-popular figure at the ASB Tennis Arena having played in the tournament on five occasions, with one of her 49 career victories coming in Auckland in 2015 over Caroline Wozniacki.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have one of the greatest players returning to the ASB Classic,” said Tournament Director, Nicolas Lamperin.

“Venus is not just one of the best players in the history of the sport, but she loves it here in New Zealand.  When her agent contacted us, we were more than pleased to offer her a wildcard into the ASB Classic. She loves it here in New Zealand and Auckland in particular, and the fans here love her.”

Williams said she had no hesitation to ask for a spot in the Auckland event.

“I’m looking forward to playing my first tournament of the season in Auckland. The tournament and fans always make me feel welcome and I’m excited to compete there in January,” said Williams.

Williams adds to three other Grand Slam champions in the field comprising US Open champions Emma Raducanu and Sloane Stephens and Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin.

She first competed at the ASB Classic in 2014, losing the final to the-then world No. 2 Ana Ivanovic, before winning the following year. Williams competed in 2016 and 2017 before making the quarterfinals in her last appearance in 2019.

Williams won Wimbledon five times and the US Open twice as well as making the finals of the other two Grand Slams at Roland Garros and the Australian Open and she reached the #1 spot in the world rankings. At the height of her reign, she made it to at least the quarterfinals in a Grand Slam for 14 straight years.

The ASB Classic women’s competition begins on 2 January, with qualifying on 30 and 31 December, with organisers reporting that several days of the two week ASB Classic already full booked.