The NZ celebs set to rub shoulders with tennis elite at the ASB Classic launch party.
The ASB Classic begins for VIPs on New Year’s Eve at a glamorous party held at Maison Mumm at The Serve at Stanley Street.
US Open champion Coco Gauff, former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki, former US Open winner Emma Raducanu, and tennis super-couple Elina Svitolina and Gaël Monfils are expected to attend, along with a big contingent of the female star players, before they hit the court that week.
Any players from the following week’s men’s tournament are also invited, including British No 1 Cameron Norrie, Arthur Fils, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ben Shelton, who have already arrived in Auckland.
Tournament director Nicolas Lamperin will host the event between 4pm and 7pm and we are told the champagne will be flowing - and the customary sabrage will be performed.
It’s no surprise celebrities are eager to mix it up with the tennis stars before they hit the courts. The ASB Classic is one of the hottest tickets in Auckland’s summer events calendar.
The Hits Matty McLean will be celebrating his first anniversary with husband Ryan Teece at the glamorous soiree. Also expected on the night and throughout the tournaments are ZM’s Clint Roberts, 1News’ Simon Dallow and Jenny Suo, Newshub’s Mike McRoberts and Kate Rodger, and fellow media personalities Francesca Rudkin, Brodie Kane, Laura McGoldrick and Nadine Higgins.
From January 1, all eyes will be on the courts and Spy’s eyes will be on the who’s who enjoying the famous hospitality in the courtside boxes, hosted by Lexus, ASB, Aperol, Grey Goose, Manuka Doctor, Heineken, One NZ, Schweppes, G.H. Mumm and Emirates.
Lotto host and Celebrity Treasure Island contestant Jordan Vandermade is this year’s MC on centre court, entertaining the crowds between matches.
Beyond the baseline battles, there are fun times to be had throughout The Serve (the bustling fan village), which includes stylish bars, interactive games, tennis-themed challenges, an impressive line-up of DJs with great spaces, relaxed seating and big-screen viewing areas.
American player Gauff, 19, will be able to relax into the New Year’s Eve party a little as she isn’t due to defend her ASB Classic title on court until January 2.
Tennis’ most famous married couple, Ukrainian player Elina Svitolina and French player Gaël Monfils have a 1-year-old daughter together, Skaï Monfils. Both players have this year made a sensational comeback. Monfils has played the Classic twice before, the last time being in 2013 when he defeated Tommy Haas in the semifinals.
While Svitolina plays, Monfil’s priority will be looking after their daughter and practising on the courts, before the men’s tournament. There is no doubt organisers will want to show him a good time. Auckland’s best hospitality spots, as well as wineries on Waiheke and even a round of golf at Te Arai Links course north of Auckland are on the cards for many of the VIP players in their downtime.
During this year’s tournament, organisers arranged a round of golf at the ultra-exclusive golf club for Norwegian player Casper Ruud and his father and coach, Christian.