Wellington - Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic will
compete at the Auckland Classic in January, organisers said on Wednesday,
hailing "the strongest field ever" at the Australian Open warm-up
With Serena and Venus Williams' participation previously
announced, tournament director Karl Budge said there would now be four former
world number ones lining up in New Zealand.
"This is uncharted territory for a sporting event in
New Zealand," he said.
"Any one of these four players could headline the
tournament on their own. They are the most marketable female athletes in the
Wozniacki, currently ranked 19th in the world, and Ivanovic
(63) are both on the comeback trail after battling injuries.
"I have very fond memories of winning the title in
Auckland 2014 and I am determined to make my mark again in 2017," Ivanovic
Venus Williams (17) won the event in 2015, beating Wozniacki
in the final, while world number two Serena has never played in Auckland.
Defending champion Sloane Stephens (35) of the USA is also
part of the 24-player field.
The tournament runs from January 2-7 in the lead-up to the
season's opening Grand Slam in Melbourne that begins January 16.