Tennis: Radwanska won't be back at ASB Classic

By Michael Brown

Popular Serb Ana Ivanovic is a possibility for the ASB Classic. Photo / AP
Popular Serb Ana Ivanovic is a possibility for the ASB Classic. Photo / AP

Defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska won't be back but a top-10 player has been signed and Ana Ivanovic remains a top target for the ASB Classic tennis tournament in Auckland at the end of the year.

Radwanska, who breezed to this year's title without dropping a set, will play the Hopman Cup in Perth instead. She's one of the world's most consistent players, and is ranked No 4, but doesn't command the pulling power of others and was deemed by ASB Classic tournament director Karl Budge as not worth the money she was asking to come back.

"We decided that, while she did a great job for us last year, we wanted to look at other options as well," he said.

That includes securing a player ranked between No 6 and No 10 - the tournament is allowed only one top-10 player - which, at this stage, is Sara Errani, Marion Bartoli (who has retired), Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber and Jelena Jankovic.

The tournament secured Wozniacki, the girlfriend of golfer Rory McIlroy, last year before she sneaked into the top 10 in the final tournament of the year, bumping her out of calculations because they already had Radwanska.

The rankings could still change with next week's China Open and the season-ending Tournament of Champions, which is why there's uncertainty around who Budge might even be allowed to chase outside the top 10. That group includes Petra Kvitova, Sabine Lisicki and Ivanovic.

Ivanovic, ranked 16, has long been a target for the ASB Classic but is also being courted to play Hopman Cup for Serbia. "We have at least an even chance of getting Ana but she is a very popular player," Budge said.

Budge will unveil his first signing on Tuesday and a young up-and-comer.

- APNZ

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