Monfils to play in Auckland

Gael Monfils will make a second appearance at the Heineken Open in Auckland after accepting a wildcard entry.

The former world number seven, who has slipped to 77th in the world following a series of injuries, joins world number five David Ferrer, former world two Tommy Haas and former world eight Jurgen Melzer in the field for the tournament starting on January 7.

Tournament Director Karl Budge said: "When we named the full field a couple of weeks ago, I was delighted to see the ranking cut off as low as 61.

"Adding Monfils to that line-up is the icing on the cake. He is often described as the player, outside the big four, who has the game to win a Grand Slam. He loves to play up to the crowd."

The 26-year-old Monfils, a former Wimbledon, French Open and Australian Open junior champion who played in Auckland in 2007, has won four ATP titles and made 13 finals.

Defending champion David Ferrer is the top ranked player and he is followed by Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, Haas, Sam Querrey of America, Poland's Jerzy Janowicz and Austria's Melzer.