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Williams, Ivanovic touch down ahead of Classic

Friday 27 Dec 2013 5:13 p.m.

Two of the biggest stars in women's tennis have arrived in Auckland for the ASB Classic, which begins on Monday.

Venus Williams and Ana Ivanovic didn't waste any time sightseeing; instead they got straight down to business on centre court.

Touching down bright and early didn't faze the seven-time grand slam singles champion. Despite losing a day in the air flying in from the US, Williams still managed a good night's sleep.

"The other day I dreamed I had a win and then I woke up and realised I haven't even played a round," she says.

While she's a wee way off winning the tournament just yet, Williams believes she's in great condition to do so.

"I feel like I'm coming into the season as fit and healthy as I have in many years, so for me that's exciting and I have a positive outlook."

Only four hours later the 33-year-old was on court slugging it out in the Auckland heat.

Williams is currently ranked 47th in the world, and although she hasn't won a grand slam since 2008 she's still able to pull the crowds.

"There's a lot of anticipation that Venus will get through to the final and we certainly saw a big spike when we announced Venus," says tournament director Karl Budge. "And it was pointing at that end in the week, so much like myself I think the fans are hoping she gets all the way through."

Number-two seed Ivanovic will be another fan favourite. The tournament poster girl also had her first hit-out today.

"I really enjoyed the court and it's a very cosy little centre court," says Ivanovic. "I did find it very nice."

The 26-year-old is eager to get her year off to a good start and spent time preparing in Australia.

"I'm very excited because it's my first time coming to Auckland and I've heard many nice things about this event, so I'm very excited to be here. I had a good time in Melbourne. It was about 10 days training, but everyone was saying here was a lot cooler, but it's not. It's actually hotter."

So with the sunshine and competition heating up, next week is bound to be a smashing one.

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