Watch: ASB Classic director hints at Williams sisters' return to Auckland

The superstar duo of Serena and Venus Williams could be set for a return to the ASB Classic in 2018, if everything goes to plan for tournament director Karl Budge.

Speaking to 1 NEWS today, Budge made no secret of his desire to see the biggest names in women's tennis return to Auckland next year, having both underwhelmed last January.

When asked about the possibility of luring the Williams sisters back, Budge said that he was doing everything he can to see it happen.

"We're trying to have that conversation again at the moment," he said.

"We've obviously got a special relationship with Venus, so we've certainly asked that question to see if there's anything we can do to get you to do your familiar lead into the Australian Open."

Budge then spoke about the possibility of hosting the return of Serena Williams to competitive action, with the 23-time Grand Slam champion having not played since giving birth to daughter Alexis in September.

"She's come out and publicly said that she's going to play week two - the Australian Open."

"I sent her a bit of a message saying redemption would be a lovely thing."

"It'd cap off a pretty awesome last couple of years if we get Serena back out here."

Karl Budge is doing everything he can to bring the tennis superstar sisters back to NZ. Source: 1 NEWS


'I love Auckland, I've always played well there' - US No.1 John Isner confirms return to ASB Classic

Two-time American champion John Isner has confirmed today he will be attending the ASB Classic in Auckland next January.

The US men's number one tennis player continues to show, particularly on the hard courts, he's one of the game's toughest opponents.

Isner, 32, captured two ATP Tour titles (Newport and Atlanta) in 2017 and made semi-final appearances at the Rome and Cincinnati Masters level events.

However, it is fond memories of Auckland that ensures there is no question where his preparations for the Australian Open will commence.

"Auckland will always hold a special place in my heart, it's where I won my first ATP title. I love Auckland, I've always played well there and I can't wait to get back there in 2018," said Isner.

Auckland has certainly been a happy hunting ground for Isner winning two titles (2010 and 2014) and making at least the quarter finals in all three of his other appearances at the ASB Classic.

"He obviously loves playing here and we are pretty happy about that. He is an entertaining guy with massive weapons," said ASB Classic tournament director Karl Budge.

"When that serve fires up it is pretty impressive. We might throw down a challenge to see if he can crack 240kp/h this year. He has done it abroad before so maybe we can rally him up for one of his best here."

The tournament runs from January 1-13.



Watch: Is tennis' teen wonderboy turned giant-killer coming to the ASB Classic?

Organisers of the ASB Classic are pursuing the new face of tennis to compete in the 2018 men’s tournament after his rapid rise to stardom this year.

Denis Shapovalov, 18, has featured in three of the four grand slam tournaments this year however his most successful run came at the Canadian Open in August.

The Canadian up-and-comer entered the tournament in Montreal as a wild card but reached the semi-finals of the event, toppling over big names Juan Martin del Potro and No.1 seed Rafael Nadal in the process.

Shapovalov also stunned US Open No.8 seed Jo Wilfred-Tsonga with a straight sets win in the second round before he was eventually knocked out two matches later.

1 NEWS understands ASB Classic organisers are chasing Shapovalov hard to participate in next year’s event to build a solid rapport with the young star that will benefit both parties for years to come.

Tournament organiser Karl Budge told 1 NEWS attracting the next generation of tennis players, like Shapovalov, was vital to the ASB Classic's future.

"We've got to keep being innovative in our approach," Budge said.

"I've talked a lot this year about that young breed coming through – we really want to make sure that we’re bring that next wave through so when they do reach the top of their game, they have fond memories of their time here."

Shapovalov is the youngest player sitting inside the world's top 60 with his results this year seeing him surge to a career-high No.51 on the ATP World Tour rankings.

The ASB Classic has already secured former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki as a drawcard for next year's event.

The women's ASB Classic runs from January 1 to 6 with the men's edition of the tournament taking place form January 8 to 13.