Hungarian tennis star Greta Arn, the 2011 ASB Classic champion, could get another look-in at New Zealand's international women's event with a wildcard unexpectedly up for grabs.
The withdrawal of Russia's former world No 2 Vera Zvonareva with a shoulder injury has given tournament director Karl Budge the opportunity to hand out a late Christmas present.
He's confident he can add some class to the field despite the disappointing loss of Zvonareva.
"There are a few good options out there . . . former champions and other good players looking at where they can play," Budge said.
Arn, ranked 116 in the world, was originally in the mix for the free rides into the US$220,000 ($267,000) tournament that went to Zvonareva and Greece's Eleni Daniilidou, who won here in 2003 and 2004.
Budge expects to be able to name his latest player by tomorrow. The tournament runs from December 31-January 5.
Meanwhile, Kiwi tennis hope Marina Erakovic is confident of kick-starting her year with something positive on her home courts.
"I feel like I know my game now and what I want to do," Erakovic said.
"I want to build on it, become stronger, hit harder and bigger, and that comes with a lot of practice but a lot of matches as well.
"The forehand is always going to be the weapon, and building that serve up as well. You're always looking to move better and get to balls that you might not have before.
"It's just building on my game, maybe getting to the net a bit more, bringing that serve a bit bigger, and using that forehand still. It's simple stuff but just doing it better."
- © Fairfax NZ News