Serena Williams is coming to Auckland, in what has been labelled the biggest ever signing for the ASB Classic.

The American star, who is rated as one of the greatest tennis players in the history of the sport, was confirmed for the 2017 tournament at a press conference in Auckland on Wednesday morning.

ASB Classic organisers were adamant the news will take the event to another level.
"We are obviously over the moon with this news," said tournament director Karl Budge.

"Serena is one of the biggest sporting stars on the planet. She has had the most Grand Slam victories, most consecutive weeks at Number One and has twice held all four Grand Slam trophies at once. I think she is the greatest player, man or woman, to play the game.To have an athlete of Serena's calibre come to Auckland is going to be huge for New Zealand and cements the ASB Classic as our biggest annual sporting event."


Radio Sport's Matt Brown talks about Serena Williams' inclusion in the ASB Classic:

Williams herself is happy to be following in the footsteps of sister Venus, who has played the ASB Classic on three occasions.

"I am really excited to be coming to Auckland for the first time. I have heard so many great things about the city and the tournament itself and I have always wanted to play there," said Williams.

"The ASB Classic is the first event of the year and it can really set you up for a great run in Melbourne," added Williams. I will be looking to start my year strongly in Auckland."

Williams has captured 71 WTA titles across her career and has dominated Grand Slams for the past two decades winning 22 Grand Slam singles titles - an all-time record she shares with Steffi Graf.

Along with her singles successes, the American has also won 14 doubles and two mixed doubles titles for a total of 38 Grand Slam successes - the most of any active player male or female.

The younger of the Williams sisters has also claimed four Olympic Gold Medals, five season ending championship trophies and had team success winning Fed Cup for America.

Williams has been named Sports Illustrated 'Sportsperson of the Year' in 2015, Glamour Magazine Woman of the Year (2009), and included in Time '100 Most Influential People', Forbes '100 Most Powerful Women' and for 15 straight years Forbes '100 Biggest Celebrities'.

She has also been awarded 'Sports Woman of the Year' three times at the Laureus Sports Awards (02, 10 & 16), and Associated Press's 'Athlete of the Year' on four occasions (02, 09, 13 & 15).