Tennis: World No 4 signs up for Classic

By Daniel Richardson

Agnieszka Radwanska signs up for this year's ASB Classic. Photo / AP
Agnieszka Radwanska signs up for this year's ASB Classic. Photo / AP

ASB Classic tournament director Karl Budge says he never had any doubts they could secure a headline act for next year's tournament because of the niche role the Auckland event fills.

World No 4 Agnieszka Radwanska was unveiled yesterday as the major drawcard for the tournament.

The 23-year-old Polish right-hander made the final of Wimbledon this year, where she was beaten in three sets by Serena Williams, and has career earnings so far of more than US$10 million ($12.2 million).

The ASB Classic runs from December 31 until January 5 and is a popular build-up for players ahead of next year's first Grand Slam, the Australian Open, in Melbourne from January 14.

Players are spoilt for choice next season with a new indoor event in China running at the same time as the ASB Classic and a higher-tier event in Brisbane.

Budge, who also expects to announce more players for Auckland in the next four to six weeks, said high-profile names were always likely to come to these shores.

"I never doubted it, to be honest," he said. "I've been lucky enough to work in tennis now for six years and on the tour for the last couple and I was never really stressing about China. I think it will take out a couple of top 10 and maybe a handful of players in that 11 through 40 bracket.

"But anyone that wants to take the Australian Open seriously and have a really good shot at it, I can't see them choosing China in the middle of winter to play an indoors tournament as their preparation for 40C heat plus in Melbourne.

"You've got the option of going over to Brisbane and earning more prize money and taking more ranking points but you risk drawing Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova first round, second round; that's not really the ideal preparation going in to a Grand Slam."

The 1.72m Radwanska is the equal-highest ranked player who will tackle the Auckland event since Elena Dementieva, who was also world No 4 when she played at the tournament in 2009.

Radwanska will likely head the field, which will also include Britain's Heather Watson.


Agnieszka Radwanska

Born: Krakow, Poland

Age: 23

Career prize money: US$10,431,677

Singles

Career record: 346-151

Career titles: 10 WTA, 2 ITF

Highest ranking: No 2 (July 9, 2012)

Current ranking: No 4 (October 15, 2012)

Grand Slam singles results

Australian Open: QF (2008, 2011, 2012)

French Open: 4R (2008, 2009, 2011)

Wimbledon: F (2012)

US Open: 4R (2007, 2008, 2012)

- APNZ

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