- Publish Date
- Tuesday, 20 August 2019, 11:40AM
Serena Williams is set to return to Aotearoa as she aims to challenge the ASB Classic title.
The Twenty-three time Grand Slam singles champion, widely considered one of the greatest athletes of all time, holds a number of achievements that have made her the biggest name in Women’s sport. Williams has amassed an incredible 319 weeks at Number One, has captured 72 WTA titles and has dominated at Grand Slams, with her 2017 Australian Open win against sister Venus earning her 23rd Grand Slam title, surpassing the previous record of 22.
The younger of the Williams sisters has also had success in doubles, winning 14 doubles and two mixed doubles titles, taking her tally to 39 Grand Slam titles – the most of any active player, male or female.
In recognition of these impressive achievements, Williams has been named the Laureus World ‘Sports Woman of the Year’ an impressive four times, Associated Press’s Athlete of the Year’ five times, Sports Illustrated ‘Sportswoman of the Decade’ and Sports Illustrated ‘Athlete of the Year’ (Male or Female) in 2015 among many more.
Williams’ achievements extend beyond the tennis court, and in 2018 she made her debut on the Forbes ‘100 Most Powerful Women’ List, recognising not only her tennis prowess but her business acumen as well. Through her company Serena Ventures, Williams has invested in 34 start-ups over the past five years, focusing on companies founded by women and minorities. She also launched her own clothing line, S by Serena, in 2018, and owns stakes in the Miami Dolphins and the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).
Williams has also featured on Forbes’ ‘2019 World’s Highest Paid Athletes’ as the highest paid female athlete, ‘America’s Self-Made Women’ lists and GQ’s 2018 ‘Woman of the Year’.
In her only previous visit, Serena announced her engagement to Alexis Ohanian to the world from a private beach on Auckland’s Waiheke Island.
Serena herself is looking forward to coming back to the ASB Classic to start her 2020 campaign.
“Oh man, I want to win that title so bad. Last time I was there I had so much going on and although I fought through to win my first match, I know I didn’t play to my level. I have such amazing memories that are really special to me from Auckland. I would really like to add some on court memories to that list” said Williams.
ASB Classic Tournament Director Karl Budge is excited to see Serena return to centre court in 2020.
“We are thrilled to get Serena back. We know she has some unfinished business here and we have desperately wanted to show the New Zealand public just what the greatest player of all time can do here. Serena is chasing history and Auckland will play a key role in helping her achieve it. I can’t wait to see her back out on court.”
ASB Head of Community and Sponsorship Mark Graham said he was thrilled to be welcoming one of the world’s best athletes back to New Zealand.
“We’re delighted to be hosting Serena Williams in Auckland again in 2020. Not only is she an exceptional talent on court, but as a businesswoman, her focus on supporting and fostering entrepreneurship in her local community is something ASB supports wholeheartedly in New Zealand,” said Graham.
“The ASB Classic continues to showcase some of the world’s top talent every year and we’re proud to be sponsoring such a world class event.”
The ASB Classic will span two weeks, with Women's Week kicking off on Monday 6 January, followed by Men's Week running from Monday 13 through to Saturday 18 January 2020.
With more than 72,000 fans setting a new crowd record at the 2019 tournament, and a majority of sessions selling out, fans are encouraged to secure their seats early.
Tickets are available via official pre-sale channels from 12 noon today and will go on sale to the general public from 9am, Wednesday 4 September.
Tickets are available for purchase through Ticketek either online via ticketek.co.nz, over the phone on (0800 842 538) or in person at one of the agencies listed on the Ticketek website.
Further player signings will be revealed in the coming weeks with the full Women’s and Men’s line-ups to be confirmed late November.