One of the strongest fields ever to head to Perth for the Hyundai Hopman Cup features four reigning or former Grand Slam champions holding an impressive 14 Grand Slam singles titles between them, all set to fight it out at the twenty-fifth staging of the official ITF mixed teams event from 29 December 2012 to 5 January 2013. With five Grand Slam titles to his name world No.1 Novak Djokovic heads the field at Hyundai Hopman Cup 2013.
Serbia’s first male Grand Slam champion, Djokovic became only the ninth player in history to have reached the final of all four Grand Slams (and only the fifth to do so consecutively) when he was runner-up at Roland Garros this year.
This is the second-consecutive year that Djokovic will start the season as the world’s top-ranked player, having won three out of the four Grand Slams played in 2011. Djokovic will combine with Ana Ivanovic to represent Team Serbia, the popular 25-year-old also a Grand Slam champion (Roland Garros ’08), former world No.1 and two-time Grand Slam runner-up (Roland Garros ’07 and Australian Open ’08). Ending the year ranked No.13 in the world, Ivanovic has reached at least quarterfinal stage of each of the four Grand Slams.
Ivanovic will face stiff competition in Group A from 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam title. The tenacious Milanese, who will team with Andreas Seppi for Hyundai Hopman Cup 2013, also reached the finals at Roland Garros in 2011, achieving a career-high No.4 ranking that year.
The fourth Grand Slam champion in the mix at Hyundai Hopman Cup 2013 is Venus Williams, a seven-time Major title holder (Wimbledon 2000, ’01, ’05, ’07, ’08, US Open 2000, ’01), who also has two runners-up finishes (Australian Open ’03 and French Open ’02) and an Olympic gold medal (2000) to her name. A WTA world No.1 on three separate occasions, Venus is tied for twelfth most successful player of all time and she’s one of only four women in the Open Era to have won 200 or more main draw Grand Slam matches.
Williams also brings impressive doubles credentials to the court having won three Olympic women’s doubles gold medals, 13 Grand Slam doubles and two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. This doubles prowess should set Team USA up as a formidable force, Williams teaming with John ‘Marathon Man’ Isner, winner of the longest professional tennis match in history (Wimbledon ’10) and currently the top-ranked American on the ATP Tour.
Joining this quartet of Grand Slam Champions is Australian Open runner-up and world No.8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who will team with Mathilde Johansson to represent team France. Tsonga captured the imagination of Australian fans when he defeated four seeds, including No.2 Rafael Nadal, to reach the 2008 finals at Melbourne Park where he lost in four sets to Novak Djokovic.
With nine of the 16 players in this year’s Hyundai Hopman Cup draw current or former world No.1s or No.2s, two top 10 players and four top 15 players, event director Steve Ayles says this year’s event continues the fine tradition of fielding the world’s best players.
“With the depth of the Hyundai Hopman Cup field tennis fans are in for a real treat at our new Perth Arena venue this year,” said Ayles. “Expect closely-contested matches, entertaining head-to-heads, the rekindling of some old rivalries and perhaps the establishment of some exciting new showdowns.” The field, ranked according to combined ATP and WTA rankings (as at 1/10/2012), is as follows:
- Serbia Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic
- USA John Isner and Venus Williams
- Italy Andreas Seppi and Francesca Schiavone
- Spain Fernando Verdasco and  Anabel Medina Garrigues
- Germany Tommy Haas and Andrea Petkovic
- South Africa Kevin Anderson and Chanelle Scheepers
- France Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Mathilde Johansson
- Australia Bernard Tomic and Casey Dellacqua
Stats on the field :
- Nine of the 16 players are current or former top 10
- Two top 10 players: Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
- Four top 15 players: Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, John Isner, Ana Ivanovic
- Four current/former Grand Slam singles Champions: Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic, Venus Williams, Francesca Schiavone
- Five Grand Slam singles finalists: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic, Francesca Schiavone
- Eight returning players: Djokovic 2006, 2008, 2011; Ivanovic 2006, 2011; Verdasco 2012;Medina Garrigues 2012; Dellacqua 2009; Isner 2010, 2011; Haas 2005; Schiavone 2002, 2005, 2011
- Eight players will make their Hyundai Hopman Cup debut: Bernard Tomic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Mathilde Johansson, Venus Williams, Andrea Petkovic, Kevin Anderson, Chanelle Scheepers, Andreas Seppi.
The Hyundai Hopman Cup is the official mixed teams competition of the ITF. It will take place at Perth Arena from Saturday 29 December 2012 to Saturday 5 January 2013.