World No.7 Coco Gauff will open her 2023 season at the ASB Classic, beginning here on January 2.
The 18-year-old American is the top seed at the WTA 250 event, which returns to the calendar after a two-year absence.
Joining Gauff at the top of the entry list are the Czech Republic’s Karolina Muchova (by special ranking), 2016 Champion Sloane Stephens, and Canada’s Leylah Fernandez. 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu, ranked No.75, will also begin her season in Auckland.
At No.93, Caty McNally is the last direct entry into the main draw.
“It was probably one of my favorite tournaments that I’ve ever played and Auckland is such a beautiful city and I am excited to go back,” Gauff was quoted as saying by WTA.
“I chose to return because I love the tournament so much.I definitely missed it with Covid-19 and I wasn’t sure they were going to bring it back,” she added.
Fifteen-year-old Brenda Fruhvirtova and 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin have been granted wild cards. Brenda will join her older sister Linda, who earned direct entry in the main draw.
Auckland returns to the WTA Tour calendar for the first time since 2020, when Serena Williams won her final WTA title by defeating Jessica Pegula in the final. The last two were cancelled due to the global pandemic.