By Ros Satar
- Team GBR at the 2017 Hopman Cup will be Dan Evans and Heather Watson
- Roger Federer set to make his tour return in Perth
- Australian defending champions Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova return
PERTH, AUSTRALIA – The invitational team event that serves for many players as their season opener confirms a bumper field for its 29th edition.
As soon as Roger Federer announced he would partner Belinda Bencic to mark his tour comeback, the annual team event took on a glittery sheen, with seven Grand Slam champions and four Olympic medalists following another gilded Olympic year.
Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova looked to be the first duo to defend their Hopman Cup title in the history of the event.
In a statement issued by the Hopman Cup, Kyrgios said: “It was probably one of my favourite events of the year. The men’s field is very strong coming up. For me Perth is a great place to have it, especially before the Australian Open, the Aussie summer, its perfect conditions and I’m really looking forward to coming back.
“I think there is a little bit of pressure there. You know a lot of people want to win that event, it’s a lot of fun and there has been some great champions there. Australia hadn’t won it for a long, long time so to be coming back there it’s pretty exciting to be defending the title.”
His feelings were echoed by Gavrilova, who added: “I’m super excited to come back to Perth for the Hopman Cup. I really enjoyed my time there, the city, the arena is unbelievable, I can’t wait. It was really fun playing with Nick, teaming up with him. He is a really good team mate, and as you would know he is a really funny guy.
“It would be unbelievable to win it again, the title, the whole thing. It would be incredibly tough, we did it last year and we are going to give it our best shot…”
Gavrilova is one of nine players in the field who reached a career high in 2016, as the Hopman Cup showcases come of the sport’s greats and newest stars combined.
Hopman Cup Tournament Director Paul Kilderry said of the 2017 field: “We have Roger Federer, 17-time Grand Slam champion and one of the greatest tennis players of all time, returning to Perth for the first time in 15 years. Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova will be back to defend their title for Australia. The public loved these two and I’m sure they’ll be looking forward to putting on a show for the fans next year.
“We also welcome men’s tour powerhouses Richard Gasquet and Feliciano Lopez to the field, along with fan favourites Heather Watson and Kristina Mladenovic.”
Watson made her debut in 2015 partnering Andy Murray, with the pair returning last year. She will be partnered by a newly motivated Dan Evans who has surged back up the rankings this year and is currently vying for the British No. 2 spot alongside Kyle Edmund, hovering just outside the Top 50 and reaching a career high of No. 53 on 12 September this year.
The full field for 2017 is:
- Australia – Nick Kyrgios/Daria Gavrilova
- Czech Republic – Adam Pavlasek/Petra Kvitova
- France – Richard Gasquet/Kristina Mladenovic
- Germany – Alexander Zverev/Andrea Petkovic
- Great Britain – Dan Evans/Heather Watson
- Spain – Feliciano Lopez/Lara Arruabarrena
- Switzerland – Roger Federer/Belinda Bencic
- USA – Jack Sock/Coco Vandeweghe
- Group A –  Switzerland,  France, Germany, Great Britain
- Group B –  USA,  Australia, Czech Republic, Spain
The Hopman Cup is an ITF competition, and will take place between 1-7 January.
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