18 Dec 2017

Federer, Kerber set for 2018 Hopman Cup

News Article

Photo: Dave ShoplandRoger Federer (SUI)

Roger Federer and Angelique Kerber are among the stars set to begin their 2018 tennis seasons at the Mastercard Hopman Cup, the ITF’s official mixed team competition, in Perth, Australia from 30 December 2017 to 6 January 2018.

Alexander Zverev, David Goffin and Eugenie Bouchard are also set to feature at the event, while the 2017 finalists, Americans Jack Sock and Coco Vandeweghe will return for another shot at the title.

“The Mastercard Hopman Cup will feature one of its strongest fields in history with three Top 10 players and six current Top 20 players coming to Perth in January,” tournament director Paul Kilderry said.

Federer will compete for Switzerland alongside Belinda Bencic for the second straight year, after using his time in Perth as perfect preparation for an outstanding season this year. The Swiss won his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in Melbourne just a few weeks after his Hopman Cup appearance and since then he has sealed a record eighth Wimbledon crown and a return to No. 2 in the world.

Kerber, a former world No. 1 and the champion at both the 2016 Australian and US Opens, will partner Zverev on her first appearance at the Hopman Cup.

“I’m excited to play in Perth at the Hopman Cup for the first time,” Kerber said. “I’ve watched the tournament from afar and have always wanted to play. The crowd and atmosphere at the arena looked incredible this year and I can’t wait to be a part of it in 2018.”

The pair will be a formidable one, with Zverev having enjoyed a breakthrough year in which he has reached the world’s top five and established himself as one of the most talented young players in the game.

Russia will see Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova - a replacement for the injured Svetlana Kuznetsova - team up with 21-year-old Karen Khachanov. Belgium, meanwhile, have paired two-time Davis Cup runner-up David Goffin with world No. 38 Elise Mertens, who is also an exciting prospect, having risen nearly 80 places in the WTA rankings since the beginning of 2017.

USA’s Sock and Vandeweghe will hope to claim victory this time round after falling to France in 2017, while fellow North Americans Canada will field Vasek Pospisil and former world No. 7 Bouchard.

Japan makes a return to the competition for the first time since 2001, with Yuichi Sugita and Naomi Osaka named in their team, while hosts Australia will be represented by Thanasi Kokkinakis and Daria Gavrilova.

“I can't wait. Hopman Cup is an opportunity and I've been wanting to play for a few years now,” Kokkinakis said. “Obviously health hasn't let me but I had an unbelievable experience when I was sixteen years old.

“It’s going to be unreal. To have three to four quality matches in the heat, maybe it's hotter than it is in Melbourne and getting ready for the Aussie Open, is going to be perfect. Quality opposition - what better way to prepare?”

ITF President David Haggerty is looking forward to beginning the 2018 season in Perth.

“In a calendar that focuses heavily on individual events, the ITF team competitions, which include Davis Cup by BNP Paribas and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, give players a different perspective on the game and a rare opportunity to represent their country,” he said.

“I would like to extend my special thanks to our title sponsor Mastercard, as well as all other sponsors and partners who continue to support the Hopman Cup. I also want to thank all the staff for their hard work in organising and establishing the event.”