Attention tennis lovers — our definitive guide to the ASB Classic in partnership with official Champagne sponsor G.H. Mumm

The most exciting tennis tournament in New Zealand is returning to Auckland early next year on the 1st of January. A longstanding competition that attracts some of the best players from around the world to the City of Sails, the ASB Classic is synonymous with exciting competition, athletic excellence, and the time-honoured elegance that has long underlined this sport. It makes sense then, that the iconic Champagne Maison, G.H. Mumm has signed on for its second year as the official Champagne of the tournament and one of the key partners for next year’s event.

In line with its motto ‘only the best’, G.H. Mumm has built its reputation of innovation and excellence by sponsoring some of the most elite sporting events in the world. Now, G.H. Mumm is embarking on its second year in partnership with the ASB Classic, bringing a luxurious, elegant edge to the tournament’s off-court attractions.

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The ASB Classic will commence on the 1st of January 2024, with the tournament running until the 13th of January. And while it is the perfect place for tennis fans to park up and enjoy some exhilarating on-court action, the ASB Classic will have plenty of off-court action too, one such attraction being G.H. Mumm’s Maison Mumm Marquee. Set in the heart of the tournament’s hospitality zone, ‘The Serve’, this iconic Champagne brand will present a homage to the luxury of its acclaimed Champagnes and elegant Summer entertainment. There, tournament attendees can indulge in glasses of beautiful Champagne, perfectly paired with fresh and refined French cuisine. It’s the perfect way to elevate any day at the tennis.

Here, we have rounded up a definitive guide to the ASB Classic, from what to expect at the tournament (both on and off the court) to the players to watch to a rule refresh and more. If you plan on attending, consider this your bible.

The Tournament

Founded in 1956, Auckland’s ASB Classic is a men’s and women’s tennis tournament that has been around for 67 years. Always set to take place the week before the Australian Open, it has become a popular fixture among prominent international players who see it as the perfect warm-up for the first major Grand Slam of the year. Notable past winners of the ASB Classic include Venus and Serena Williams, Richard Gasquet, John Isner, Jelena Jankovic, Gaël Monfils, David Ferrer and many more. Even Rod Laver won it back in 1961.

Serena Williams playing at the ASB Classic

Players to Watch

Coco Gauff
The winner of last year’s women’s event, Coco Gauff is returning to Auckland to defend her ASB Classic title. This 19-year-old American wunderkind is now ranked third in the world and promises to bring her powerful style and fierce competitive game to Auckland come January.

Felix Auger-Aliassime
Tapped as a rising star, this 23-year-old French-Canadian player is set to make his Auckland debut at next year’s ASB Classic. He was ranked sixth in the world in 2022, and when he was 18, became the youngest player to make the top 25 in the world since Lleyton Hewitt over two decades ago. Ambitious and driven, Auger-Aliassime is certainly set for big things.

Cameron Norrie
Despite being currently ranked as the number one British player, Cameron Norrie was raised in Auckland. Next year he will return to the tournament that he has credited with having sparked his love for the sport to find a crowd of enthusiastic Kiwi tennis fans, keen to support one of their own.

Caroline Wozniacki
The former world number one is set to return to Auckland for next year’s tournament, marking her eighth time playing in the ASB Classic. Back in 2020, Wozniacki retired after winning 30 singles titles and spending a total of 17 months as the best player in the world, before deciding to pick up her racquet again in August this year. Set to be a major moment for this renowned player, Wozniacki will certainly be one to watch as she enters the ASB Classic with her eye on the prize.

Arthur Fils
This young up-and-coming 19-year-old Frenchman has now risen to 38th the world on the ATP rankings, making him the highest-ranked teenager and currently fifth in the Next Gen (21 years and under) listing. Since turning professional two years ago, Fils has jumped over 600 spots in the world rankings, and more than 200 places this year. One to watch indeed.

Gaël Monfils and Elina Svitolina
Gaël Monfils, the 37-year-old from France and ranked sixth in the world, is one of the most entertaining and enduring tennis players on the planet. Elina Svitolina is ranked number 25 in the world and has won 17 WTA titles along with the Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo 2021. The two players are not only dynamic doubles partners but are also husband and wife, making their on-court game all the more captivating to watch.

Keeping Score from the Stands

Every tennis match starts with all players on zero points, or what is known in the parlance of the sport as, ‘love-love’. First points in a tennis match are initiated by the player serving. Once a successful serve has been returned by the receiver, the two players engage in a back-and-forth rally, which will continue as long as the ball remains within the boundaries of the sidelines and baselines. The ball must not go out, or bounce twice. The player who wins the rally, either by hitting a winning shot or by the fault of his/her opponent, gets the first point, which makes the score 15-0 (said as 15-love). From there, the points proceed in this pattern:
First point — 15
Second Point — 30
Third point — 40

If the players reach 40-40, that is called ‘deuce’. In the case of a deuce, a player must win two consecutive points to win overall. Winning one point after deuce is called ‘advantage,’ but if the second point is lost by the advantaged player, the game returns to deuce. This can go on for a while and is part of the reason why some tennis matches become very exciting to watch.

Caroline Wozniacki playing at the ASB Classic

That is how to win a game. To win a set, a player must win a minimum of six games, ensuring they are two games ahead of their opponent. In a very close match, the game score can get to six all, which triggers a ‘tiebreaker.’ Here, points are counted sequentially from ‘one’, players swap serve every two points and to win, a player must be the first to win a minimum of seven points with a two-point difference.

So, a player must win four points to win a game, a minimum of six games (with a two-game difference) to win a set, and either three sets (in best-of-five matches) or two sets (in best-of-three matches) to win the overall match. Players change ends with every set. In Grand Slams, men’s singles matches are best of five, but in all other ATP tournaments (including the ASB Classic) as well as women’s matches across the board, the matches take on a best-of-three structure. All doubles matches are best of three.

Competition is now closed


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