Tennis New Zealand is desperately seeking ways to keep tennis in the spotlight with no Auckland event in January to look forward to.

Tennis NZ chief executive Julie Paterson admitted the loss of the event will hurt financially.

“There will be a financial implication for Tennis NZ, but putting that to one side, the biggest disappointment is that the ASB Classic tournaments are the shop fronts for tennis,” Ms Paterson said.

“We have that massive time of visibility of tennis through January and people in New Zealand straight away connect summer to tennis, because we have a whole month where it’s front and centre.

“That’s a real challenge for us, and we’re thinking about how we can keep the profile of tennis high through that period of time.

“But clearly nothing we do will have the same visibility that the ASB tournaments would have had.

“It’s disappointing, but it’s understandable and I know that the Tennis Auckland team will be very quickly turning their attention to 2022 and making sure that event will be bigger and better.”

Tennis NZ is currently not allowed to run ITF pro events that only New Zealanders can compete in, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Non-New Zealanders need exemptions to get into the country and it’s unlikely any would be granted for tennis events.

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