Canadian Eugenie Bouchard will return to the ASB Classic for another shot at the title after being given a wildcard to the main draw.
The 25-year old had a successful start to her 2019 season in Auckland, reaching the quarter-final in singles and winning the doubles title with American Sofia Kenin.
She came to Auckland last year as world No 87, but has slipped dramatically since then. Bouchard is now ranked outside the top 200 (214) and now mainly plays on the WTA Challenger circuit.
But the glamorous Canadian remains one of the most marketable sports people on the planet with a number of endorsement deals, multiple magazine covers and a combined following of over 5 million on her social media platforms, which, along with her status as a former Grand Slam finalist and ex-World No five, would have helped to secure the wildcard.
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"We're really happy to have Genie come back to Auckland. We loved having her here earlier this year, and I think you can tell from the performances she put out on court that she enjoyed being here as well," said ASB Classic tournament director Karl Budge.
Bouchard was always one to watch after winning the Wimbledon girls title in 2012, but it was her 2014 season that shot her to stardom, reaching the semi-finals of both the Australian Open and Roland Garros before going one better at Wimbledon beating two world number ones (Kerber and Halep) and four seeds on her way to reaching the final – the first for a Canadian. This was also the year the then 20-year-old broke inside the top 5 on the WTA rankings.