Auckland Podcasts Back
Published December 21, 2010 12:00
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Mad-cap video podcasts have become a tradition at Auckland's ASB Classic, and garrulous host James McOnie will once again be doing his best to destabilize the stars of the WTA when the 2011 event kicks off in early January.
Since 2008, when the videos were first launched, prominent New Zealand TV presenter McOnie has riffed with some of the biggest names in women's tennis. In 2008, he quizzed Lindsay Davenport to distraction about her own career, seemingly bringing the former world No.1 close to smashing her racquet.
Recently-retired Elena Dementieva, who was beaten by McOnie in 'swingball', had to endure the sight of him in 'stubbies' (very short shorts). Current world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki learnt how to pass a rugby ball, denting a sponsor's car in the process.
In deference to New Zealand being the setting of the Lord of the Rings films, McOnie has talked Hobbits with Maria Kirilenko. Last year, he jumped in scenic Waitemata Harbour after players asked him to leave a yacht they were on, while Flavia Pennetta is reportedly still shaking her head after being shown how to make a 'real' Kiwi pizza - can of spaghetti included. And sometimes, fans are implicated too.
The 2011 ASB Classic is headlined by Maria Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Dinara Safina, Kimiko Date Krumm and defending champion Yanina Wickmayer. Twenty-year-old Kiwi No.1 Sacha Jones has been confirmed as a wildcard to the event.
Check out the ASB Classic's official website to download or stream the podcasts: www.asbclassic.co.nz