20 Oct 2010

Defending champions return for Auckland tennis tournaments

5:30 am on 20 October 2010

John Isner, the winner of the longest professional tennis match ever played, is returning to Auckland in January to defend his Heinken Open title.

The American, who's ranked 20th in the world, won his first ATP singles title in Auckland in January which signalled the start of an extraordinary year for the 2.06 metre tall American.

He reached three tour finals and made the fourth round of the Australian Open but it was his first round Wimbledon match which has become part of sporting folklore.

He beat French qualifier Nicolas Mahut in five sets, winning the decider 70 games to 68, in a match that took over eleven hours to complete.

The women's world number 20 Yanina Wickmayer will also return to defend her ASB Classic title.

After winning the Auckland title early this year Wickmayer went on to fourth round grand slam appearances at the Australian and US Opens.