Kiwi Michael Venus could now be the biggest attraction at next week's men's tournament which lacks the star power of a Serena Williams.
Venus has been given a wildcard the day after top seed Daniil Medvedev's withdrawal.
World No.12 Fabio Fognini has inherited the top billing for the men's edition, which kicks off in Auckland on Monday.
But he doesn't bring with him the star power of Medvedev, a US Open finalist in 2019.
The Russian has decided to rest ahead of the Australian Open later this month after a deep run with his country at the ATP Cup in Sydney this week.
"There's a massive tournament the week after us that the players logically want to get ready for," noted tournament director Karl Budge.
"He's (Medvedev) had a massive load this week."
Tournament director Karl Budge tried to fly in some big names for his wildcard spot to bolster the draw, but ultimately he was forced to turn to Venus - one of the world's best doubles players.
"We offered brothers wildcards, we offered private jets. We offered a lot to try to get people coming out of Australia and Doha this week.
It does give fans a favourite in Medvedev's absence.
"It could be a good opportunity to start the year - get some point play before getting on the doubles court," Venus said.
Venus will play defending champion Tennys Sandgren in the first round.
The men's tournament lacks the big-name appeal of its woman's counterpart a week earlier featuring two of the biggest names in the sport in Caroline Wozniacki and Williams, despite featuring more top 20 players.
"Our men's field is quite a lot stronger than our women's field," Budge said. "It just doesn't have main on the street appeal that the women's field has enjoyed this week.
It means Michael Venus can enjoy the spotlight and hopefully get bums on seats.