Tennis: Rising star joins Classic field

Junior grand slam champion Ana Konjuh has been handed a wildcard into the main draw of the ASB Classic. Photo / Getty
Junior grand slam champion Ana Konjuh has been handed a wildcard into the main draw of the ASB Classic. Photo / Getty

The ASB Classic field has been boosted by a rising star of women's tennis, with Croatia's Ana Konjuh handed a wildcard into the event.

Konjuh, a junior grand slam winner, joins one of the strongest ASB Classic fields to date ahead of the tournament's start on Monday.

While the likes of seven-time grand slam champion Venus Williams and former world No 1 Ana Ivanovic will capture much of the attention, Konjuh will also be worth keeping an eye on.

In 2013, the 15-year-old enjoyed wins in both the singles and doubles in the Australian Open main draw, while she also took out her second junior grand slam title at the US Open.

That win saw Konjuh decide to compete in only professional events moving forward, despite being eligible at junior tournaments for another two years.

Konjuh also represented her nation at the Fed Cup, defeating Urszula Radwanska, and Croatia's Fed Cup captain Iva Majoli believes the teenager could be a top ten player within the next couple of years.

With pedigree like that, ASB Classic tournament director Karl Budge was thrilled to have the world No 259 on board.

"We're very excited to be able to offer Ana a wildcard into the ASB Classic,'' he said. "She is absolutely a star in the making and we can't wait to see her take to our centre court.

"We hope to build a strong relationship with the Croatian and lure her back to New Zealand in future years to headline our event.''

- APNZ

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