Leanne Baker and Shelley Stephens get wildcard, Pierce Gold/Silver Exempt WC
Wildcards For Baker And Stephens
23/12/2004 07:16 AM NewstalkZB
New Zealand's Leanne Baker has been handed a wildcard into the doubles for next month's ASB Tennis Classic in Auckland.
Tournament director Richard Palmer has also given Baker a wildcard into the qualifying singles.
Palmer says Baker may not need the wildcard into the doubles as she might be able to get into the main draw of the doubles on her ranking.
Palmer says Shelley Stephens has been guaranteed a wildcard into the singles qualifying, but may get the one remaining wildcard into the main draw, should a top overseas player not request one.
French Star Signs For ASB Classic
22/12/2004 12:29 PM NewstalkZB
The quality of the ASB Tennis Classic field has just stepped up a notch.
The lineup had been looking weaker than has been in the case in recent years but the tournament has been boosted by the announcement that world number 29 and two time major winner Mary Pierce will be the third seed.
Pierce last played in the tournament in 2003 and tournament director Richard Palmer says it has made the field a lot more interesting.
Palmer says the French star has struggled with injury recently but has her mind set on climbing back into the top 20 in 2005.
He says she is coming to Auckland because she is comfortable there and there is less pressure than in other tournaments.
Palmer says he is relieved to have finally secured her services after five or six weeks of trying.
Pierce is likely to receive a gold/silver exempt that is available for top 50 players which means the second wild card is still to be handed out to either a New Zealander or an international player.
Pierce won a title in the Netherlands at the start of the year and was knocked out of the Olympic quarterfinals by winner Justine Henin-Hardenne.
She won the Australian Open in 1995 and the French Open in 2000.