Tennis: Naomi Osaka to Auckland? Organisers aim high after recordbreaking ASB Classic

Coco Gauff's ASB Classic win was the best cast scenario for tournament bosses, who are already increasing ambitions for next year's event.

The defending champion is exempt from recent rules limiting the world's best players appearing in Auckland.

But after her win over Elina Svitolina on Sunday, the American has made all the right noises about returning.

Gauff and second-seed Svitolina went head to head in an intense three-set final, with the 19-year-old taking the title for the second year running.  

"Last year it rained almost every single match and we were inside with three people watching, so it was great to have you all here every match," Gauff told the Stanley St crowd after her victory.

Coco Gauff.
Coco Gauff. Photo credit: Getty Images

Tournament organisers hope the win will help next year's line up, after fans set a new high watermark for attendance.

"We had a record crowd over the week and we want to make sure we can continue to bring the world's best players to the New Zealand fans," tournament director Nico Lamperin told Newshub. 

The WTA has recently introduced new regulations for tournament fields. From this year, no players in the top 10 can take part in the WTA 250-level ASB Classic - and only two who are ranked between No. 11 and No. 30.

Fortunately, defending champions are exempt, meaning Gauff is eligible next year and organisers hope they can continue to bring other marquee players to Auckland, with the likes of Japanese superstar Naomi Osaka in his sights.

"Maybe in the future we will look at people like Naomi Osaka, which would be another marquee player," said Lamperin. 

And despite the ASB Classic being classified as a development event, organisers hope players will still hold in it in the same esteem Gauff does.

"I don't take this lightly," she said. "I think these are stepping stones that I need to do to progress in my career," said Gauff. 

With rules also allowing a maximum of two top-30 players, world No. 23 Elina Svitolina seems certain to take up the opportunity for a chance to go one step further next year.

"Hopefully I can come back next year and play more tennis here," said Svitolina after the final.

If the stars turn up, crowds are certain to follow.