By Ros Satar

  • Serena Williams and Roger Federer help bring in the new season at the Hopman Cup
  • Katie Boulter and Cameron Norrie make their debut for Great Britain
  • With the new ATP Cup occupying that early spot in the calendar from 2020, the Hopman Cup might be going out with a bang as its future is now uncertain in the tennis opener calendar
PERTH, AUSTRALIA – The Hopman Cup returns, possibly for its last time in the traditional season opener spot, and if this is its last time – it could be going out with a bang!

The Hopman Cup team invitational event has long since heralded the start of players’ preparations Down Under, but in what could be its final year, it looks certain to go out in quite some style, given this year’s line up!

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With last year’s champions Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic, and finalists Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev returning, the rest of the groups are no less exciting. Kerber impressed in the Hopman Cup and went on to reach the Australian Open semi-final and win Wimbledon, with Federer winning in Melbourne.

Federer has won his past two Australian Opens in a row after choosing to start his season in Perth and told HopmanCup.com:

“I’m very excited to be coming to the Hopman Cup again in 2019 and trying to defend my title with Belinda Bencic. We had a wonderful week. I took a quokka selfie. Western Australia has treated me super well, you, the fans, have been amazing. Perth Arena is a wonderful place to start the new year and it’s obviously the perfect preparation for the Australian Open and it worked so well the last couple of years, I can’t wait to come back.”

Former World No. 7 Bencic has battled with injury already in her young career, but is looking forward to starting her season at the Hopman Cup for a second straight year.

“It was a dream come true to win the Hopman Cup this year with Roger, I enjoyed every minute of it,” Bencic said.

“The crowds were absolutely amazing and to play at Perth Arena is what every player lives for,” she added.

 

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Group A

  • Germany: Zverev and Kerber
  • France: Lucas Pouille and Alizé Cornet
  • Australia: Matt Ebden and Ashley Barty
  • Spain: David Ferrer and Garbiñe Muguruza
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Debuts galore as two-time Slam champion Garbiñe Muguruza and former World No. 3 David Ferrer are looking to clinch Spain’s fifth Hopman Cup title, hoping to follow in the footsteps of Fernando Verdasco and Anabel Medina Garrigues who won in 2013.

Muguruza said: “I’m looking forward to Perth and to play there. I’ve heard so many things about Hopman Cup chatting about it to other Spanish people that went and they say it’s magic,” Muguruza said. I’m excited to play with David and yes I’ve seen it on TV and it looks very fun and competitive at the same time.

“There’s something about the Australian vibe that makes us want to be there and makes us happy. The crowd is so involved with us, that we love to play there.”

Ferrer might be looking at hanging up his racquet in Spain later in 2019 but will be starting out his farewell season Down Under.

He told the Hopman Cup website: “I never had the chance to play in the Hopman Cup, but all the people say to me that it’s an amazing competition. It’s very good, very good preparation for Australia. And you know I like playing in a competition with teams.

“I think we have a really good team. Garbiñe is one of the best players of the world. I’ve never played with Garbiñe. It’s going to be all new for me in Perth.”

 

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Group B

  • Switzerland: Federer and Bencic
  • USA: Frances Tiafoe and Serena Williams
  • Greece: Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari
  • Great Britain: Cameron Norrie and Katie Boulter
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Perhaps one of the most exciting pairings to look forward to is Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari. Tsitspas finished his season with a flourish in winning the ATP Next Gen Finals and winning the Stockholm title, as well as reaching his first Masters 1000 final in Canada.

Sakkari impressed greatly in reaching her first WTA tour level final this year, and reached a career high, cracking the Top 30 in September.

“I’m super excited to be playing in Perth and, together with Maria, being the first Greek team playing in Perth for many years,” Tsitsipas said.

“I can’t wait to have all the support from the crowd, from the Greek people that live in Perth and for such a fantastic event like the Hopman Cup. Playing in front of such an amazing crowd in such a nice city like Perth, it’s like a dream come true for me. I’ve worked so hard for it and being part of this event is so important for me.

“Putting Greece on the map of tennis is super important as well, inspiring kids. We are the two players that can change tennis in Greece and, you know, bring it to another level, to a completely new level.”

The Hopman Cup takes place between 29 December – 5 January.

 

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