Tennis: ASB Classic tournament director Nicolas Lamperin defends Auckland event after Emma Raducanu criticism

ASB Classic tournament director Nicolas Lamperin has defended his event, in the wake of criticism from drawcard Emma Raducanu after an injury.

On Thursday, 20-year-old Raducanu was forced to retire hurt, after rolling her ankle on Stanley Street's indoor court, as play was forced indoors by Auckland's inclement weather.

Raducanu then took aim at the indoor surface, and the organisation of the ASB Classic as a whole.

For Lamperin, in his first year as ASB Classic tournament director, the nature of Raducanu's comments missed the mark.

Emma Raducanu.
Emma Raducanu. Photo credit: Getty Images

And after a revamp of the facilities, Lamperin emphasised there is no issue with the indoor courts at the ASB Tennis Centre.  

"The courts have been checked," he said. "The courts are fit to play [on]. We've had a number of matches on these two courts, we haven't had any injuries apart from yesterday.

"The courts have been redone at the start of [2022], there's a lot of work that's been done. 

"As far as we're concerned, the courts are in playing condition."

Lamperin also gave his thoughts to Raducanu, who has suffered another injury just weeks out from the Australian Open.

Another injury is cruel for Raducanu, who had an injury-ravaged 2022 after announcing herself to the world with victory at the US Open in 2021.

"We're obviously very sorry about Emma's injury. Every player works really hard in the off-season, and that's not what you expect when you play a tournament in week one.

Nicolas Lamperin.
Nicolas Lamperin. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

"However, injuries happen all the time. It could have happened on outdoor courts as well.

"We feel [sorry] about the situation, but we also say these courts are fit to play [on]."

Lamperin also refused to play the victim as the tournament continues to be hampered by Auckland's weather.

Every day of this year's tournament has been affected by weather in some way, with the use of the indoor courts a last resort for organisers to complete the draw.

But for Lamperin, the persistent threat of rain this year shouldn't have any impact on the future of the ASB Classic as a tournament for international stars in the years to come.

"Every tournament in the world has had issues with the weather - it's us this year," he continued. 

"It's obviously very challenging. It's not the experience we'd like to deliver to the players and fans. But we just have to deal with it.

"I don't think, long term, it will have any negative impact on the tournament. 

"This is nothing new in tennis."

And while the need for a roof continues to be apparent as the rain continues, Lamperin has tempered expectations for fans. 

"I can't make any comment on funding," said Lamperin. "If you're asking me if I'd like to have a tournament with a roof? I would say yes, for sure.

"But we need to be realistic. We're a [ATP] 250 tournament, for both women and men.

"How many 250 tournaments can afford to have a roof these days?"