Italian Fabio Fognini will return to Auckland for January's ASB Classic, as the men's field nears completion for NZ's annual tennis showpiece.
The 12th-ranked Fognini will become the fifth top-20 player in the men's line-up, alongside top seed and world No. 4 Daniil Medvedev, young gun world No. 15 Denis Shapovalov and 23-year-old world No. 17 Karen Khachanov rounding our the top four seeds.
The fiery Fognini broke into the ATP's top 10 for the first time this season, after recording wins over Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev on his way to clinching the Monte Carlo Masters in April.
Director Karl Budge believes Fognini is exactly the kind of player the tournament needs.
"Fabio is one of the true entertainers on the ATP Tour," said Budge. "He is quite possibly the most naturally talented guy on tour.
"When he is on, there are few players that can stick with his level, as he showed beating Rafa in Monte Carlo – a tournament Rafa has owned throughout his career."
The 32-year-old is renowned for his colourful and often heated on-court exchanges.
"His array of shot-making is unbelievable and is always entertainment plus. That is really important for us to have that variety and contrast of styles."
Budge still has five wildcard entries up his sleeve that will likely be offered to players who've made an early exit from the ATP Cup in Australia in early January.
The men's ASB Classic runs from January 6 to 18.