Auckland Classic: Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic join strong field in 2017
Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic will compete at the Auckland Classic in January, organisers said, hailing 'the strongest field ever' at the tournament.
Wellington: Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic will compete at the Auckland Classic in January, organisers said Wednesday, hailing "the strongest field ever" at the Australian Open warm-up tournament.
With Serena and Venus Williams' participation previously announced, tournament director Karl Budge said there would now be four former world number ones lining up in New Zealand.
"This is uncharted territory for a sporting event in New Zealand," he said.
"Any one of these four players could headline the tournament on their own. They are the most marketable female athletes in the world."
Wozniacki, currently ranked 19th in the world, and Ivanovic (63) are both on the comeback trail after battling injuries.
"I have very fond memories of winning the title in Auckland 2014 and I am determined to make my mark again in 2017," Ivanovic said.
Venus Williams (17) won the event in 2015, beating Wozniacki in the final, while world number two Serena has never played in Auckland.
Defending champion Sloane Stephens (35) of the USA is also part of the 24-player field.
The tournament runs from 2 to 7 January in the lead-up to the season's opening Grand Slam in Melbourne that begins 16 January.
A day after New Zealand coach Gary Stead expressed confidence about his availability, Williamson also struck a note of optimism ahead of the match in Sharjah. The tournament begins on 17 October.
The Australian's withdrawal from the women's team tennis competition formerly known as the Fed Cup comes hot on the heels of her decision to sit out this month's Indian Wells tournament in California.
Williamson was left out of Sunrisers Hyderabad's playing XI for their final match of the Indian Premier League, but Stead played down concerns around the chances of the injury hurting Williamson's participation in the marquee event.