28 Nov 2017

Budge delighted with ASB Classic final men's field

3:27 pm on 28 November 2017

The ASB Classic tennis tournament director Karl Budge is delighted with what he believes is the best men's field in the history of the event.

ASB Classic tournament director Karl Budge.

ASB Classic tournament director Karl Budge. Photo: Photosport

The full line-up for the event being played in Auckland in the New Year was confirmed on Tuesday, with the addition of American Sam Querrey meaning five top 20 players are set to be involved.

Rising US star Jack Sock will be top seed at No 8 in the world, with Argentinian former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro (11), Querrey, American John Isner (17) and Spain's Roberto Bautista-Agut (20) rounding out the top five.

Budge said add in the presence of five former champions and the fact the lowest ranked player in the field will be 61 and he felt it was a history-making group of players.

"That's clearly the best field we've had.

"It's packed with genuine superstars, the most exciting next wave of talent and incredibly we have nine ASB Classic titles between the field we are announcing today.

"It's a pretty stellar line-up."

Although Sock will be top seed, second seed del Potro is arguably the tournament's biggest drawcard.

The big hitting 29-year-old, who won the 2009 US Open and has captured 20 ATP Tour career titles, was set to play in the 2016 tournament but had to withdraw due to fitness concerns.

Del Potro had fallen outside the top 1000 players in the world as a series of injuries heavily limited his game time but a stellar 2016 helped him charge back up the rankings.

After he withdrew just a couple of weeks out from the 2016 tournament, citing "fitness concerns" Budge said circumstances this time around are more favourable.

"He's not playing between now and Melbourne (the Australian Open), there's not tournament or Davis Cup like last year that might take him away from us.

"I know he sees this as massive preparation for Melbourne and I certainly look forward to the moment he walks out on court for the first time.

"We don't have the roof yet but I dare suggest it would be lifted if it was on."

Another positive was confirmation del Potro will not play any other tournaments in the lead-up to the ASB Classic.

The Australian Open starts in the third week of January and players have the option of playing events in the first week of the month, the second week, or both.

Budge was happy to hear Auckland would be the only tournament the del Potro would only play between now and the first Grand Slam of the year.

"We certainly tried to encourage and entice that we were the week he plays.

"Someone like [del Potro] only wants to play one week before the Australian Open. We certainly led the case for having an extra week holiday, rest that big body of yours and come back firing and play three weeks of tennis in a row."