Venus Williams will not be returning to Auckland's ASB Classic after signing on for the Sydney International instead next year.

Williams will end a 20-year absence from the Sydney event next summer as she warms up to go one better than her 2017 Australian Open final loss to sister Serena.

Williams has played the last four years in Auckland, winning in 2015 after defeating Caroline Wozniacki in the final.

"Auckland is a great event but I was looking at options to extend my off-season," Williams told the Daily Telegraph.


It was always touch and go whether Williams was to return to Auckland after moving into the world's top 10 - with only one two 10 player allowed to appear at the event.

The 37-year-old has the right to choose if she wants to be considered a top 10 player due to her length of service to the WTA. But if Williams was to take that option she would potentially miss out on around a million dollars in bonuses at the end of the year.

The world number five has not played at Homebush since 1998 when she lost in the final to Spain's Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario as a teenager.

The American, now 37 and a seven-time grand slam winner, is coming off a stellar season.

She has achieved her highest ranking since January 2011 after reaching grand slam finals at Wimbledon and Melbourne, where she was a 6-4 6-4 loser to Serena.

"This was one of the earliest tournaments I ever played and has always held a special place in my heart," Williams said.

"The last time I played in the Sydney International I was 18-years-old, so a lot has changed in this time.

"I have been playing some really great tennis this year and I feel I'm in a strong position, both physically and mentally, in the lead up to Sydney.

"The Australian summer is always a favourite of mine. I really love the atmosphere the crowds bring and I'm confident in my preparation over the next few months to put on a good show for the Australian fans."

The Sydney International will be contested from January 7-13.