ASB Classic: John Isner looking to topple stacked Auckland field to begin 2018 on the right note

Two time ASB Classic winner John Isner believes the 2018 edition features the best field ever assembled for the men's event.

The American has found New Zealand a happy hunting ground, having won in 2010 and 2014, while making at least the quarter-final stage in all three of his other appearances.

But if he is to claim a third Auckland title, he admits it will be a difficult challenge with five players ranked inside the world's top 20.

"This field is absolutely loaded," said Isner.

"I think it is a testament to Karl [Budge] himself - the players really enjoy him being around and being the tournament director.

"It's also a testament to this city being awesome and I think players have realised that this is a very good warm up for the Australian Open."

Isner begins 2018 ranked 17th in the world and will be the fourth seed for the Classic.

"The top seed [Jack] Sock is good, then you have [Juan Martín] Del Potro, Sam Querrey right ahead of me and then I'm the fourth seed," he said. "I think everybody can win this tournament that’s how tough it is." 

Lots of big names have already pulled out of the up and coming Australian Open in Melbourne with plenty more are in doubt. 

Tournament top seed and defending champion Jack Sock.
Tournament top seed and defending champion Jack Sock. Photo credit: Getty
Juan Martin del Potro is one of the tournament favourites.
Juan Martin del Potro is one of the tournament favourites. Photo credit: Getty

With a talent pool including Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori not featuring in Melbourne, Isner knows this could be a great opportunity to make a run in the opening Grand Slam of the year.

"Tennis is a physical game and it takes its toll on everyone, and I think these guys have been at the top of the game for so long, you finally might be seeing it take its toll on these players a little bit, apart from Roger (Federer) who's from another planet.

"Yeah I do, (think I can win a Grand Slam) I mean things do have to go your way.

"I think the number one most important thing is not putting pressure on yourself.

"You have to go out there, wing it, and see what happens and control what you can control and just hope it goes your way. It is a good opportunity.

"It is open but it is really tough to win a grand slam, [Roger] Fed will be there, [Novak] Djokovic will be there and so will [Rafael] Nadal so it is going to be tough again."

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