The ASB Classic has reached a tipping point.

Does the event continue to get bigger and bigger - shooting for the stars and aiming for more and more big names - or does it just settle for its place in the world?

The latter seems the best option.

Fans have been spoilt in recent years, with so many high profile players, to the point that the announcement late last year about Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic returning barely raised an eyebrow. In the past the presence of either the Dane or the Serbian would have created mass headlines, but punters have become slightly blase.


Expectations have gone up every year, and as tournament director Karl Budge and his team have upped the stake with each event, the cycle continues.

But we may have reached the apex. You can't do better than Serena Williams, one of the legends of the sport. Her visit didn't turn out quite as anyone could have expected, either on or off the court, with a shock second round loss to the world No73, and then some unfortunate comments from the 22-time grand slam winner. But it doesn't detract totally from her appearance, which created an almost unprecedented buzz among tennis fans in this country.

Off the back of that, and the visit of WTA CEO Steve Simon, there were ideas floated earlier this week about Auckland moving up a tier to Premier status so it could attract more than the current limit of one top 10 player.

That's crazy talk. To paraphrase Gordon Gekko, how many top 10 players do you need? Think about this year; Would the presence of the likes of Simona Halep (No4), Dominika Cibulkova (No5) or Karolina Pliskova (No6) really be worth the hundreds of thousands of extra prize money to go up a level?

There are only a handful of names on the women's tour that turn heads among general sports fans - and three of them were in Auckland this year (Serena, Venus and Wozniacki). And as seen this year, the presence of big names at the start of the week doesn't mean a star-studded end to the tournament. It's the reality of tennis, especially in the early weeks of the season, as players are finding form and fitness.

And things should be kept in perspective; a golf event in this country would be overjoyed with one overseas top-100 player, which almost never happens.

It's better for the ASB Classic to stick with the current recipe. A big name, a couple of other recognisable players, others that add depth and some young guns. And surely the ultimate aim - medium and long term - is to build the New Zealand presence in the tournament. No one quite knows how to achieve that, but competitive Kiwis would be a bigger drawcard than just about any other overseas name.