A third trip to the Auckland tennis Open could be on the cards for the former world number one Rafael Nadal.
Eager to get court time before next month's Australian Open, a stomach complaint forced Nadal to pull out from his long awaited comeback from injury at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi this week.
He is now set to start in Doha next week.
Heineken Open tournament director Karl Budge says an appearance in Auckland will hinge on Nadal's fortunes at the Qatar Open while they would also vie with options in Australia.
Budge says he's had a number of chats with Nadal's agent with his latest conversation the most positive.
Nadal played the Open in 2004 and 2005, losing both times to Dominik Hrbatý of Slovakia.
Next year's tournament begins on January the 7th, while the women's WTA Classic starts on Monday in Auckland