Italian teenager Jannik Sinner - one of the hottest young players on the world tennis circuit - has been awarded wildcard entry into next week's ASB Classic men's event in Auckland.
Sinner, 18, took out the ATP 'Next Gen' title in November, beating world No.18 Alex de Minaur in the final at Milan and was named ATP Newcomer of the Year.
During 2019, he improved his ranking from 553 to 78th, making him the youngest player in the top 80 since Rafa Nadal (43) in 2003. Among his other victims during 2019 were former ASB Classic champions Philipp Kohlschreiber and Jiri Vesley.
"[Last year] was a great year for me with some big wins and to end the year winning the Next Gen finals has given me a lot of confidence coming into the 2020 season," he says.
"All of the players talk about how great Auckland is, so for me, it was somewhere I was keen to try."
Tournament organiser Karl Budge is celebrating Sinner's entry into the main draw.
"This is a huge get for us," he says. "We have been working on this one for four months, so when we got confirmation on Tuesday, we were over the moon.
"This is the best prospect on the ATP Tour right now. I have not hear this much excitement about a player on the men's draw for some time.
"It is similar to how people are talking about Coco [Gauff] in our women's draw. He will be a top-five player for many years to come."
Budge has also secured young Spaniard Alejandro Fokina for the main draw, while world junior No.1 Holger Rune of Denmark will contest qualifying for the Auckland event.
Fokina, 20, is a former Wimbledon junior champion and ranked 82nd in the world, while 16-year-old Rune has already been serving faster than 200kph for two years, earning rave reviews from compatriot Caroline Wozniacki.
"I had been looking at Holger for a while and was really keen to get him here," says Budge. "I had a chat to Caroline, who raved about him, so that gave me confidence it was a great move."
Join us next week for live updates of the ASB Classic men's tournament