A pair of America’s brightest talents is bound for Perth for the Hyundai Hopman Cup in 2014, and comes armed with impressive firepower.
Sloane Stephens and John Isner will partner to represent the United States at the Perth Arena, a combination of exceptional athleticism and power off both the serve and the ground that will make them one of the teams to beat come January.
Stephens is making her debut at the prestigious mixed teams event, looking to tap into the form that made her one of the hottest players of the Australian summer in 2013.
The world No.12, just 20 years of age, reached the quarters in Brisbane, semis in Hobart and then stunned the great Serena Williams at the Australian Open en route to her first ever Grand Slam semifinal.
Stephens unleashed a game perfectly suited to Plexicushion – she went an impressive 10-3 in January – anchored by explosive court coverage and exceptional depth and power on her groundstrokes. Coupled with an unflappable on-court demeanour, it makes her a formidable competitor and a player positioned for even greater things during the upcoming Aussie summer of tennis.
Perth fans will get the first glimpse of Stephens’ game when she touches down in Australia to kick off the new season.
And as a Hopman Cup debutante, she’s looking forward to gracing the courts before a burgeoning legion of fans.
“I had an awesome three weeks in Australia this year so I’m looking forward to going to Perth and being able to play there,” she told the West Australian.
Unlike Stephens, Isner is a Hopman Cup stalwart; this will be the towering American’s fourth trip to Perth, and he’s already hoisted the trophy, combining with Bethanie Mattek-Sands to win the trophy and famous diamond-encrusted tennis balls in 2011.
The 28-year-old, currently ranked 14th, will arrive for the event hoping to carry on the solid form that saw him maintain a top 20 ranking for much of 2013, as well as winning titles in Houston and Atlanta and reaching the final at the ATP Masters event in Cincinnati.
“Every time I have played the Hopman Cup I have enjoyed myself so much. I’ve absolutely loved my time in Perth,” he revealed in a West Australian interview.
Despite having to withdraw from last year’s event due to a knee injury before completing his final round-robin match, Isner loves the conditions in Perth, which suit a game built around a booming serve and strong forehand.
And he sees no reason to change his Australian Open preparatory route in 2014.
“For me, playing the Hopman Cup is perfect preparation for the Australian Open,” he said. “It allows me to get down there early, get used to the heat and, on top of that, get top-notch, quality matches.”
The United States begin their campaign against defending champions Spain on Monday 30 December.
Hyundai Hopman Cup 2014 will be staged at Perth Arena from 28 December to 4 January 2014. To secure your tickets, visit the Ticketek website.