The Hopman Cup will have tennis royalties Serena Williams and Roger Federer’s present as this will make the summer’s tourney the biggest ever.
Federer and Williams will headline the star-studded field, which also includes world No.3 Angelique Kerber, world No.5 Alexander Zverev and rising Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Australia will be represented by Matt Ebden and world No.19 Ashleigh Barty. The appearance of Williams following her US Open meltdown is set to attract huge interest; while Federer helped the Hopman Cup set a new crowd record last summer.
ATP World Team Cup
But the future of the mixed-teams event appears in grave doubt after plans were hatched to unleash an ATP World Team Cup from January, 2020. The planned 24-country tournament would be staged in Australia, with cities such as Perth, Sydney and Brisbane mooted to co-host the event.
With $20 million worth of prize money on offer, the World Team Cup would be the richest tournament outside of grand slams.
Rankings points will also be on offer, which would help attract the world’s best players.
Tennis Australia is contracted to host the Hopman Cup until 2022, but that by no means guarantees the future of the iconic event, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last summer.
Tournament director Paul Kilderry is confident the Hopman Cup will continue beyond this summer, despite the threat of the ATP World Team Cup. “We’ve got a contract through to 2022 with the government and our intent is to honour that contract,” Kilderry said.
“The world of tennis is more political at the moment than I’ve ever seen in my 30 years of being around it.
“The Davis Cup has changed – there’s a lot of change at the moment. I don’t think anyone has a real clear outlook on it.
“We’ve just got to focus on this year’s event, have a great event and our intent is to honour the contract we have.”
Williams hit the headlines at the recent US Open when she was involved in a bitter spat with chair umpire Carlos Ramos during her loss to Japan’s Naomi Osaka in the final.
Williams, who called the umpire a thief, was fined $23,500 over the incident.
The 23-time grand slam winner remains the biggest drawcard in women’s tennis and her appearance in Perth is set to attract huge crowds.
Williams will team with rising star Frances Tiafoe to represent the US. The duos have been placed in the same group as defending champions Switzerland, which features Federer and Belinda Bencic.
It means Federer will play against Williams during the mixed double tie between the US and Switzerland on New Year’s Day.
Federer, a 20-time grand slam winner, has won the past two Australian Opens after using the Hopman Cup as a springboard.