Venus Williams on her return to ASB Classic

Radio Sport,
Publish Date
Sunday, 30 December 2018, 2:46PM
Venus Williams is back for the fifth time at the ASB Classic. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Perennial favourite and seven time grand slam champion Venus Williams has arrived in Auckland.

The tennis star has become a regular at the ASB Classic, with this her fifth appearance at the tournament. 

She told Matt Brown that the relaxed atmosphere in New Zealand is one reason she keeps coming back. 

"I'm really intense on the court, but off court I'm really laid back, so it really suits my personality." 

Venus couldn't make an appearance last year as only one Top 10 player was allowed.

Tournament director Karl Budge hopes that the Classic could be elevated to WTA Premier status to prevent that from happening again.

Venus says she thinks it would deserve that status.

"In the first week of the tour, it is important to have the higher level events, so I think there is some room for translation there."

How long she'll last this round remains to be seen.

She will be facing former world No1 Victoria Azarenka in the first round, after their names came out of the hat consecutively on Saturday.

It sets up a blockbuster clash, one that a few years ago would have been worthy of a grand slam final, but also means that one of the biggest draw cards will be gone by the end of Tuesday and is the last thing tournament organisers would've have hoped for.

Venus says that she is excited to face her, and says she imagines Azarenka is as well. 

"If you beat her, it's because you deserved it, not because she gave it away. I'm happy to see Victoria back on tour, and I'm looking forward to a great match."