Venus Williams returning to NZ for ASB Classic

Ricardo Simich,
Spy News,
Publish Date
Saturday, 19 November 2016, 3:18PM
Venus Williams.
Venus Williams.

Tennis superstar Venus Williams is excited about her return to Auckland for January’s ASB Classic.

In an exclusive interview with Spy, she spoke glowingly of the City of Sails.

“I am so excited to come back to Auckland, which is one of my favourite stops on the circuit,” said the 36-year-old, who is set to play tour guide to her star sister Serena, here for the first time.

“It will be nice to have Serena there as well this year. In addition to the competition, I am looking forward to seeing the amazing beaches and the unique landscape,” Williams added.

ASB Tournament Director Karl Budge is buzzing with excitement about the impending sister-act tour.

“It’s pretty amazing Auckland is going to play host to the two biggest names in women’s sport next year.

“Venus knows Auckland so well and loves the culture of the city. No doubt she will play tour guide for sister Serena. I think Nic Watt’s new restaurant, True, will be in play given Venus’ love of clean eating, while Serena is a massive karaoke fan and you can bet she will give our local spots a go at some point.

“She is not afraid to mix with the public having been to Parnell’s French markets and even been spotted in a Westfield Mall in the past.”

And it seems the search may be on for the perfect location for New Year’s Eve for the sisters. The tournament starts January 2 so the pair are likely to be here to see in 2017.

“I am keen to see how they celebrate the New Year. We might have to see what we can arrange there. Watch this space!” said Budge.

“Being in Auckland will be a fantastic way to start 2017 and I am really looking forward to it!” added Williams.

And could a Spy dream come true with good friend Beyonce coming to NZ to see the girls play?

Serena made a special guest appearance in Queen B’s Sorry video as part of her Lemonade visual album released earlier this year, and Beyonce returned the favour in July, when she and husband Jay Z watched Serena win Wimbledon.

The venue for the players’ opening party is yet to be confirmed, but with star power like that we know invited guests will be taking a break from holidays and heading back to Auckland.
Auckland Tennis launches the ASB Classic in Osborne Lane, Newmarket on Wednesday.