Auckland's ASB Classic has ramped up its bid to secure Serena Williams for next month's tournament.
The 23 times grand slam singles winner has entered the Australian Open where she's the defending champion.
Williams gave birth to a baby boy in September and hasn't played competitively since winning in Melbourne.
Her last defeat was in the second round in Auckland this year.
Tournament director Karl Budge has no doubt Williams could win in Melbourne without playing a warm-up tournament.
But he says playing here would benefit her and he's again reached out to her agent.
"There's no substitute for time on court and feeling in control of your game. I'd hope she's want a match, I hope she wants to play a lead-up tournament but whether or not she wants to play week one or week two."