Paige Hourigan has the chance to start 2020 in the best possible way, after being granted a main draw wildcard into the ASB Classic.
It's a rare opportunity for the New Zealand No 1, who has only previously played in qualifying at the Auckland event.
Her elevation to the main draw is reward for some promising results last year, and also reflects the desire of the organisers to have some local talent on display.
But it will be a huge step up.
Hourigan, who had her first full year as a professional in 2019, is ranked 438 in singles, while most of the field is well inside the top 80, including Grand Slam winners and a number of former Auckland champions.
But the Wanganui native is just thrilled to get the chance at WTA level.
"It's a very exciting opportunity to be given the wildcard," said Hourigan. "I'm super excited to be able to play in front of New Zealand. As soon as I found out I couldn't wipe the smile off my face."
Hourigan describes her 2019 season as "just okay".
She won a tournament in Mexico, and reached another final there, though both were US$15,000 events, the lowest tier on the ITF circuit.
She also made the singles semi-finals of a tournament in Singapore, but the main highlights came in doubles, with seven titles and appearances in three other finals.
"I was competing very well and getting some good results," said Hourigan. "It could have been better, but starting off as a professional I was doing okay. I did well in doubles most weeks. That made me feel good about my singles, even if I didn't perform so well, because I came off on a high with the doubles."
Hourigan's biggest challenge last year came with the death of her father in July, which caused her to put her career on hold, but she returned to the court at the national championships in Wellington last month, followed by an exhibition event in Te Anau, and says is in a good space ahead of the ASB Classic.
Fellow Kiwis Erin Routliffe and Valentina Ivanov have both received wildcards into singles qualifying.
Ivanov (18) compiled a 12-4 singles record in her first season of college tennis in the United States.
The 24-year-old Routliffe had consistent results in doubles last year and has a current ranking of 145 in that format.
The final two qualifying wildcards have been given to American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Australian Arina Rodionova.
Mattek-Sands has won an Olympic gold medal and five Grand Slam doubles titles in her career.
But the 34-year-old is now ranked 370 in singles and only played 14 matches last year.
But she has a high profile off the court, which probably helped her case for a wildcard.
Rodionova (30) guaranteed her spot in Auckland after winning the Australian Open wildcard playoff last month.
The 30-year-old is currently ranked 204, but was close to breaking into the top 100 just over two years ago.
Her inclusion is part of a new arrangement which will see local players given opportunities at various Australian events over the summer, in an initiative agreed between the respective governing bodies and the ASB Classic.