The biggest drawcard at last summer's ASB men's tennis Classic is looking increasingly unlikely to return to January's tournament in Auckland.

Former Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reached the semi finals on his first appearance, but tournament director Karl Budge says while they are still talking to Tsonga, it's complicated.

He says it's not as straight forward as it was last year with him and his understanding is he's keen to play in the Middle East in week one which makes it difficult to get him to fly Middle East to Auckland and on to Melbourne in short succession.

Defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut is the only player so far confirmed to return to the Classic but Budge is confident he will assemble a strong field.