Latest 27 Oct 2011

Williams star attraction at 2012 ASB Classic

Williams star attraction at 2012 ASB Classic

Former world No.1 and seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams is heading to New Zealand.

The eldest sister of the most famous siblings in world tennis will be the star attraction at the ASB Classic featuring the Kia Motors Singles and Doubles from 2-7 January 2012.

The five-time Wimbledon champion, and US Open winner on two occasions will be the most accomplished player to compete in our premier women’s tennis event at Auckland’s ASB Tennis Centre.

The confirmation of Venus in the ASB Classic field follows on from this year’s coup when former world No.1 and glamour girl Maria Sharapova was the star billing in Auckland.

ASB Classic Tournament Director Richard Palmer says it’s almost too good to be true to have two superstars come to Auckland two years in a row.

“Having Venus join us next year is a real boost for the ASB Classic and will add an extra dimension to the tournament. She’s not only a world-class player but one of the most recognisable figures in sport.”

Venus is well known for her colourful and cutting edge outfits, and the six foot tall American has her own clothing line - EleVen by Venus Williams.

Venus will be playing a number of exhibition matches in the next few weeks and intends to kick start 2012 in Auckland before heading to the Australian Open.

You only need to look at her long-list of career titles to understand what a drawcard Venus is. The 31-year-old has 43 career titles since her first victory in 1998 as well as reaching the finals of 27 tournaments.

Venus and sister Serena have also been one of the most successful pairings in the doubles game with 12 Grand Slam titles and two Olympic gold medals. At the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Venus claimed both the singles and doubles gold medals.  

And to round out her long list of accolades, she also has two mixed doubles Grand Slam titles.

ASB CEO Barbara Chapman says “as principal sponsor of the ASB Classic we are thrilled to play a part in bringing one of the biggest names in world sport to New Zealand.

“Venus’ attendance at the ASB Classic continues the tournament’s long history of success in attracting many of the global superstars of women's tennis to play in New Zealand.

“This will be a fantastic opportunity for local fans to see a true legend of the game in action, competing alongside other top-tier players and the future stars of tomorrow.”

With nearly $US28 million in career prize money, Venus is a popular figure off the court having made appearances on Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman’s shows. She has also been a presenter at the MTV Music Awards, written two books with her sister and made the Forbes rich list several times. Her contract with Reebok was the largest ever awarded to a female athlete.

Tickets for the ASB Classic go on sale from Ticketek from Tuesday 1 November.

All centre court games for the ASB Classic will be screened live on SKY TV. The action will run uninterrupted from the start of play at 1pm each day through until the last game of the day.