Tennis-Gauff to boost Auckland Classic after COVID hiatus

By Thomson Reuters Aug 22, 2022 | 8:14 PM

(Reuters) – Rising American tennis star Coco Gauff will kick off her 2023 season at the Auckland Classic in a boost for the returning New Zealand tournament.

The 18-year-old reached her first Grand Slam singles final at the French Open in June and took the number one ranking in doubles following her recent win in Toronto.

“I am super-excited to be returning to the … Classic,” world number 12 Gauff said in a statement.

“I definitely missed New Zealand the last two years and I am excited to kick my year off back in Auckland.”

Both the 2021 and 2022 editions of the tournament were cancalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

American great Serena Williams won the previous Auckland Classic in 2020, her last WTA title.

The 2023 tournament starts Jan. 2 in the leadup to the Australian Open.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)