SA's top stars at Hopman Cup
Cape Town - South Africa have not been invited to play in the Hyundai Hopman Cup in Perth since the days of Wayne Ferreira and Amanda Coetzer. However, Kevin Anderson and Chani Scheepers will be teaming up to take on players from seven other countries in Perth, Australia, from December 29 to January 5.
The Hopman Cup, which will be celebrating its 25th year, is an invitational team-based tournament that consists of eight teams, which are made up of one male and one female player.
Teams are split into two groups of four, with each team playing the other three teams in their group. The two teams that finish top in their group play off in the final.
Each tie consists of a men's and women's singles match and a mixed doubles match. All matches are the best of three sets, except for the mixed doubles. If a mixed match is tied at one set all, a match tiebreak is played to decide the final set.
The South Africans have been seeded sixth for the event with Serbia – to be represented by men’s world No 1 Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic – topping the seedings. The balance of the teams are John Isner and Venus Williams from the USA (seeded 2), Italians Andreas Seppi and Francesca Schiavone (3), Fernando Verdasco and Anabel Medina Garrigues representing Spain (4), Tommy Haas and Andrea Petkovic of Germany (5), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Mathilde Johansson of France (7) and Australians Bernard Tomic and Casey Dellacqua (8).
Serbia, Italy Germany and Australia are in Group A with the USA, Spain, South Africa and France in Group B.
The South Africans will open play on Saturday, December 29 against Spain.
Anderson said he was really looking forward to playing in the Hopman Cup with Scheepers.
”The field is very strong this year but I believe that we can do well together. It's a fantastic event and it's also a good opportunity to help prepare for Sydney and the Australian Open" said Anderson.
Scheepers was equally excited to be part of the season opening tournament.
“I am very excited to represent South Africa at the Hopman Cup. It is a prestigious event with great tradition and I can't wait to be a part of it. I will have an opportunity to play three matches against the world's best players which is a perfect way for me to prepare for the Australian Open. I am also lucky to have Kevin Anderson on my side, after having another fantastic season on the ATP tour.”
Ferreira and Coetzer won the title in 2000, beating Thailand in the final. They also reached the final in 1997 but after splitting the singles matches with Americans Justin Gimelstob and Chanda Rubin, went down narrowly in an enthralling mixed doubles encounter.
The tournament will be played for the first time at the brand new, state-of-the-art Perth Arena, which promises a whole new level of comfort for spectators. Just one of the features of the new venue is climate controlled seating, ensuring patrons keep their cool during the hottest matches, even with the retractable roof open. Tennis fans can enjoy watching the stars sweating it out on court from any of the 13 910 air-conditioned and cushioned stadium seats.