Having already courted as many as 35 of the world's top 50 at various stages of their careers, including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, finding fresh talent is difficult for Heineken Open organisers.
Tournament director Richard Palmer has achieved it, however, by signing up former world No 7 Fernando Verdasco, who currently occupies the 23rd slot on the world rankings.
Known as Tabasco, or Hot Stuff, in some quarters (he once posed nude in Cosmopolitan to raise awareness of prostate cancer), the 27-year-old Spaniard has won two ATP singles titles and reached the quarter-finals or better 10 times.
This year the left-hander reached the last 16 at the Australian Open, was a beaten finalist in San Jose, Estoril and Gstaad and made the last four in Hamburg to take his career earnings beyond US$8 million.
Verdasco was one of two Spaniards to be announced as confirmed starters for January's Heineken Open with defending champion and world No 5 David Ferrer returning to Auckland for the seventh time.
The two will ensure a quality field and Palmer is still in discussions with former winner John Isner (ranked 24) as well as regular and world No 9 Nicolas Almagro. Almagro's efforts in Auckland have been questionable over the years, and he received a wildcard this year, but he redeemed himself by making the last four in 2011.
It is getting more difficult to attract top players because most head straight to Melbourne the week before the Australian Open to set up camp and practice on the courts used for the first grand slam tournament of the year.
Ferrer is an exception and has won the Heineken Open twice. He followed up his triumph this year, when he comfortably beat David Nalbandian 6-3 6-2 and went on to make the semifinals of the Australian Open.
He's found it difficult to break into the stratosphere of men's tennis occupied by Novak Djokovic, Nadal, Murray and Federer but is the best of the rest at No 5 in the world. He's not dipped outside the top 20 since 2005 and has amassed more than US$12 in career earnings.
He made a promise to return to Auckland after winning this year and Palmer is delighted he's kept that promise.
"We get a lot of comments about same old, same old around Ferrer but it's pretty nit-picky when it's No 5 in the world in a truly global sport,'' Palmer said. "We are delighted he's coming back. He's had another good year and is once again playing in the end-of-year-championships in London. He's a class player and a lovely guy as well.''
There will be interest around Verdasco because he will bring something different. Palmer has tried for a number of years to lure him to Auckland and has finally succeeded.
"I don't know what the clincher was this time,'' Palmer said. "Maybe it's time to change his pattern and he's decided to do something different leading into the Australian Open. We came to an agreement financially that suited him and us. We were in a bidding war with other events but we came out on top, which was pleasing.''
Verdasco can be a temperamental player and as a child suffered from ADHD. He has a big forehand - tennis commentator Brad Gilbert has often referred to it as his 'fearhand' - and, like Nadal, plays with plenty of topspin.
The full field will be announced on November 30 with the cutoff likely to be about 70 in the world. One of the three wildcards is likely to go to the New Zealand No 1, who is currently Russian-born Artem Sitak at 405 (Michael Venus is next best at 428) but Palmer doesn't have a Venus Williams-type figure up his sleeve. Palmer, who also doubles as ASB Classic tournament director, last week announced Williams would play in Auckland in January.