Now that 2016 has come, a new season of top tennis is starting after a short break – in this preview we will focus on Hopman Cup.
Hopman Cup is one of the exhibition tournaments with the longest tradition in tennis. Although players don’t receive ATP and WTA ranking points for their efforts in this tournament, this is a very popular tournament, especially in Australia and many top tennis players, both men and women, take part in this competition. Hopman Cup is regarded as one of the best preparatory tournaments for the first Grand Slam in the season, Australian Open.
The first Hopman Cup was played in 1989 and it always consists of two groups with four teams each. The teams are country-based and consist of one male and one female player. The team that manages to get to two victories in singles and mixed doubles events is the winner of the clash.
This year, group A consists of Australia Gold (Jarmila Gajdosova and Lleyton Hewitt), Czech Republic (Karolina Pliskova and Jiri Vesely), Ukraine (Elina Svitolina and Alexandr Dolgopolov) and United States (Serena Williams and Jack Sock), while group B consists of Australia Green (Daria Gavrilova and Nick Kyrgios), France (Caroline Garcia and Kenny De Schepper), Germany (Sabine Lisicki and Alexander Zverev) and Great Britain (Heather Watson and Andy Murray).
As we can see, some of the top players in both competitions are here (Serena Williams and Andy Murray), some of the young and upcoming stars are also here, such as Daria Gavrilova and Alexander Zverev, while we have one all veteran team consisted of Jarmila Gajdosova and Lleyton Hewitt, who will retire after the Australian Open and it would be great for him if he played his last season in front of own crowd successfully.
United States and Great Britain are the biggest favorites to go through the finals. The reasons are clear, both Williams and Murray should dominate over competition in their matches, and if it is necessary, they should finish them off in mixed doubles, since both of them are solid in that part too and their partners are excelling in doubles matches.
Possible surprises are home side Australia Gold (do not underestimate the power of motivated, experienced players!) in group A and Australia Green in group B, which is the youngest team in the competition overall. The “X factor” teams that consist of pretty unpredictable players are Ukraine and Germany, while Czech Republic and France seem too weak for their competition, but this is an exhibition tournament and everything is possible.