The ASB Classic tennis tournament has confirmed some serious star power in January, with double Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka earning a wildcard spot.
Azarenka, who has been away from the game for much of the last 12 months after giving birth to her first child, has won 20 WTA titles, including her two Open triumphs in 2012 and 2013.
The Belarusian sits fourth on the all-time money list and has won another two grand slams in mixed doubles, along with an Olympic gold medal.
"Vika was always someone we wanted to bring to Auckland," says tournament director Karl Budge.
"Along with Serena [Williams], she has been the best player in women's tennis over the last six or seven years and is a genuine top two or three player."
Azarenka says she is looking forward to getting back on the court.
"I can't think of a better place to start the 2018 season than in Auckland," she said.
"I've worked extremely hard with my team over the last few months and continue to do so for the new season, and with my goal to get back to world number one and compete for Grand Slam titles."
Along with Azarenka, players to watch in Auckland include world number three and top seed Caroline Wozniacki, Julia Goerges (14 in the world), Barbora Strycova (23) and Agnieszka Radwanska (28).
The ASB Classic runs from January 1-6, with the men's tournament from January 8-13.