6 Jan 2023

ASB Classic sorry for Raducanu but stand by indoor courts

3:07 pm on 6 January 2023

ASB Classic tournament director Nicholas Lamperin is defending their decision to play indoors in the wake of criticism from British star Emma Raducanu.

ASB Classic tennis tournament director Nicolas Lamperin.

Nicholas Lamperin. Photo: Photosport

The 2021 US Open champion exited the event in tears on Thursday night, withdrawing early in the third set of her second round match with an ankle injury.

The match was one of several moved to indoor courts this week due to ongoing wet weather in Auckland.

Raducanu's injury comes just 10 days out from the Australian Open, while she also had an injury-impacted 2022.

"To be stopped by a freak injury, rolling an ankle is pretty disappointing, in the first week [of the year] as well," she said after the match.

"I thought I was playing some pretty decent tennis.

"The courts are incredibly slick, like very slippery, so to be honest it's not a surprise that this happened to someone."

Responding to the comments on Friday, Lamperin stood behind their call to play matches indoors at ASB Tennis Arena.

He said the courts were checked and cleared in conjunction with the tournament referee and WTA tournament supervisor.

"We are obviously very sorry about Emma's injury. Every player works really hard in the off-season and that's not what you expect when you play a tournament in week one.

"However injuries happens all the time and it could have happened on outdoor courts as well.

"We feel [sorry] about the situation but we also say these courts are fit to play."

Lamperin said he was yet to speak with Raducanu but would be trying to do so.

"First of all, I want to make sure she's ok. This is my number one priority.

"I understand the frustartion. It's 10 days ahead of the Australian Open. She's coming from a season with a lot on injuries, so of course this is something which creates frustration.

"We will have a discussion, whether it's with her or her management, that's for sure, and we'll take it from there."

The injury to Raducanu was one of several headaches created for organisers by Auckland's persistent wet weather.

Sessions of play have had to be delayed or cancelled, causing complaints from fans and leaving some players not 100 per cent satisfied.

But Lamperin didn't believe the issues they had run into this week would have a long-term impact on the tournament's reputation.

"Every tournament in the world has had issues with the weather.

"It's us this year and it's obviously very challening. It's not the experience we want to deliver to the players and fans but we just have to deal with it.

"I don't think long term it will have any negative impact on the tournament. This is nothing new in tennis."