The presence of global superstars at the ASB Classic can only be positive news for the popularity of tennis in New Zealand.
Former world number ones Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic headlined the women’s event, while popular Spaniard David Ferrer and Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are the main drawcards at the men’s tournament.
However, tournament director Karl Budge knows it is proving harder to lure the big names to Auckland, and the demand for higher appearance fees has often proved a sticking point during negotiations.
Budge has worked tirelessly to transform the ASB Classic into a premier event, so this obstacle was nothing new.
He formed a unique strategy, which involved taking players on helicopter rides, beach visits and showing them a good time while in New Zealand.
It has proven to be a winner, and shows the innovation Budge has had to utilise when taking on…
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