5 Jan 2019

Tomas Berdych to miss Auckland tennis tournament

2:27 pm on 5 January 2019

The ASB Classic tournament director Karl Budge is optimistic New Zealand tennis fans will eventually get a chance to see Tomas Berdych play in Auckland.

Tomas Berdych


Budge confirmed on Saturday the Czech star had withdrawn from next week's tournament after reaching the final of the event in Doha, his first tournament back from a six month injury layoff.

Berdych is a former Wimbledon finalist with a career high ranking of fourth in the world and Budge said while they understand the situation, he expects it might only be a delay.

"He doesn't feel like he could come in and put in a great performance, if he's travelled from Doha to get here.

"He's had six months out of the sport, so to turn around and play back-to-back before a grand slam, I understand. It's disappointing for everyone, but I do understand it.

"I just hope in 12 months time he remembers it and maybe gives us a favour this time next year."

The upside of Berdych's withdraw is a place in the main draw for New Zealand player Rubin Statham.

Budge has handed 31-year-old Statham a wildcard, along with ex-pat Kiwi Cameron Norrie, who is now based in the UK.

Norrie, who is still just 23 rose to a career high ranking of 66 in August last year and reached three ATP semifinals in what was just his first year as a professional.

Statham's first round match will be against South Korean star Hyeon Chung, who reached the semifinals of the Australian Open in 2018.

Norrie has drawn 52nd-ranked Frenchman Benoit Paire.