By Jake Davies
- Hopman Cup 2017 features Roger Federer, Nick Kyrgios, Belinda Bencic among many in the team event to start the season.
- Federer appears for the first time since 2002, having won the event in 2001
PERTH, AUSTRALIA – Roger Federer makes his long-awaited return to tennis, as he teams up with Belinda Bencic for the Hopman Cup.
Hopman Cup boasts a strong field for the 2017 edition of the event
The 2017 season is just around the corner and will come around faster than you know it, which means that the Hopman Cup is less than two weeks away! There are so many great stories that are waiting to be told in the coming weeks. Will Roger Federer‘s return to a tennis court be a successful one? How will he fare in doubles with talented Swiss star Belinda Bencic? Can Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova retain their title win from 2016?
The tournament consists of eight countries with two players each. Kyrgios and Gavrilova represent Australia, Andrea Petkovic and Alexander Zverev for Germany, Lucie Hradecka and Adam Pavlasek for the Czech Republic, Heather Watson and Dan Evans for Great Britain. Kristina Mladenovic and Richard Gasquet will be flying the French flag, Lara Arruabarrena and Feliciano Lopez confirm the Spanish line up, and lastly, Coco Vandeweghe and Jack Sock conclude the Hopman Cup line up for the United States.
The biggest news was that Federer would team with Bencic in the doubles, which would see Switzerland’s greatest tennis player and their brightest star feature on the same court.
Federer dropped outside the World’s Top 10 for the first time in 14 years, which could suggest a switch in momentum for the next generation of players that are looking to take Federer’s place in the coming months and years. A niggling knee injury that curtailed Federer’s 2016 season still remains a serious problem until we see Federer play tennis on a regular, consistent basis, which was not the case in 2016.
Federer has always expressed his love and contentment of playing the sport he loves, so where he is placed in the rankings could just be an afterthought at this point in his career.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion will pair up with Bencic during the Hopman Cup event. Bencic, a player who’s no stranger to the limelight, is also trying to find her way back to the Top 10 following a string of freak injuries.
She is a tennis prodigy that displayed exceptional qualities from her early years as a junior until now. In 2014, she made the US Open quarter finals as a 17-year-old, which further strengthens the argument of many that she could accumulate a number of majors in the years to come.
Heather Watson & Dan Evans pair up for Great Britain.
It is a massive year for this British duo. Watson gets a whole season to show her progress under coach John-Laffnie de Jager. The pair linked up for the Asian swing, which ended abruptly as Watson felt ill in the first of three brief appearances in Asia.
The most important thing for Watson is finding the brand of tennis that she feels comfortable with. Sometimes she has lost her tennis identity on court as she fluctuates between being a defensive and aggressive player. For a moment it felt like Watson forgot to play to her strengths and get the most out of the game that suits her best. After all, it is an individual sport, so optimising the tennis strategy that suits you is of the greatest importance.
Evans, now inside the World’s Top 70, should now capitalise on being able to play the big events against the top players. His current ranking allows him to do just that. He still has a lot to prove on the ATP Tour. He dominated Zverev at the US Open and should have beaten Stan Wawrinka in the third round, but the key for Evans is showing this promise and quality over a long period of time.
He has shown undeniably good results on the Challenger circuit, but now he has to prove his worth on the ATP tour to maintain the ranking of his.
Kyrgios & Gavrilova aim to defend 2016 title
Kyrgios and Gavrilova are scheduled to team up for Australia once again. One of the highlights in last year’s Hopman Cup was the team chemistry between these two players. The two Australians face a tough challenge ahead if they are to retain the title. Often the ties are settled by the doubles in the deciding match, and there are great doubles players in this year’s event including the likes of Sock, Lopez, and Mladenovic.
Like every year, the Hopman Cup should be a fantastic event with unlikely partnerships pairing up on the tennis court to start the 2017 tennis season with a bang!
The Hopman Cup takes place between 1-7 January
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