Julia Goerges is set for her fifth crack at the ASB Classic and will be aided by something of a secret weapon - her physiotherapist.

Having played at the tournament for the past four years, the German will be hoping to repeat her 2011 run to the semifinals and begin a bounceback year after a disappointing 2013.

Goerges, who will tomorrow play eighth-seed Karin Knapp in the opening round, was inhibited by her first major injury through much of the season and her struggles only exemplified the need for a fulltime physio to manage the rigours of the WTA circuit.

So the 25-year-old now enjoys the luxury of taking her physio from tournament to tournament, ensuring daily management of the aches and pains that come hand in hand with the demanding sport.


That means not being subject to the whims of tour-appointed medical staff, with time at a premium and patients always in need. It's not possible for every player but, with almost US$3 million ($3.7 million) in earnings during her career, it's an amenity Goerges can afford.

"It's very necessary for me to have someone around with me, otherwise there wouldn't be any chance of playing a full match. Staying healthy is the most important thing."

That hasn't been much of an issue for Goerges in the past. Until last year, she had led a relatively charmed life compared to some of her peers, allowing her to rise as high as No 15 in the world rankings.

But, after finishing runner-up in the doubles at last season's ASB Classic, Goerges endured a difficult campaign, hampered by a wrist injury sustained during in a WTA event in Brussels in May.

"I had a really tough year and got my first big injury with my wrist. That kept bothering me for over four months."

Her physio will be sure to monitor the ailment during the start of the new season and, the way Goerges sees it, she has one of her fellow ASB Classic competitors to partly thank for such an allowance.

The world No 72 believes Venus Williams and sister Serena ushered in a new era for women's tennis which has seen professionalism rise, endorsements flow and competitiveness increase.

"The Williams sisters have been very important for the tour," she said. "I think it got much better in every department - fitness-wise, player-wise. Many more players can beat anyone, which wasn't the case for 15 or 20 years."

While she might not get a chance to test that theory against Venus Williams this week, having been placed on the opposite side of the draw, Goerges was more than content with once again beginning the year in Auckland.

"I feel really like home, I would say, even though it's very far away from home. Overall, I feel like it's a great tournament to start the year with and that's why I'm coming back all the time."