Newly crowned American no.1 male tennis player Jack Sock has signed onto play the ASB Classic in 2017 in hopes he can use it to prepare for success at the Australian Open.
He will return to Auckland hoping to go one better after retiring with illness in the second set of the 2016 ASB Classic final against Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.
Sock has gone from strength to strength in 2016, reaching the final in Auckland and Houston before becoming the no.1 ranked American male by beating compatriot Steve Johnson in the third round of the Shanghai Masters.
Continuing his purple patch, Sock showed why he's ranked 23 in the world in Shanghai, upsetting big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in the quarter-final before teaming up with John Isner to win the Shanghai Masters doubles' title.
Sock said that Auckland's laidback feel was a factor of his return.
"I always love coming back there, I've played there multiple years and I think it's a really cool city," he said.
"It's a laidback event and it's a nice laidback environment and they do an unbelievable job. The hospitality makes the players feel very welcome and for me it’s the best lead up to the first grand slam of the year".
He also said he would be hoping to not have the same misfortune as he did at the 2016 ASB Classic.
"Last year was very unfortunate, coming down with flu like symptoms but I'm going back to not have that happen again and make a good run".