Nine of the world’s top 20 players have been revealed as participants in the Hopman Cup in December. Petra Kvitova (Player Info), John Isner (Player Info), Sloane Stephens (Player Info), Milos Raonic (Player Info), Jerzy Janowicz (Player Info) and Eugenie Bouchard (Player Info) are among the tennis stars confirmed for the ITF’s official mixed teams’ competition from 28 December 2013 to 4 January 2014, taking place in Australia for the second consecutive year.
Petra Kvitova will partner with Radek Stepanek, who along with Tomas Berdych, led the Czech Republic to yet another Davis Cup final. He is currently ranked No.6 in doubles and has won men’s doubles titles at the Australian Open in 2012 and the US Open in 2013. Kvitova won her first Grand SLam title at Wimbledon in 2011 and followed up by winning the year-end WTA Championships.
The American team will see World No. 13 John Isner partner with a different opponent for a fourth time, this time with rising star Sloane Stephens. Stephens had her breakthrough moment in the season back at the Australian Open, where she defeated World No.1 Serena Williams to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal. She followed that up by making the fourth round in both Roland Garros and the US Open as well as the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. Isner previously won the tournament in 2011 with partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands and even partnered in 2013 with Venus Williams.
“For me playing the Hopman Cup is perfect preparation for the Australian Open. It allows me to get down there early, get used to the heat and on top of that get top notch, quality matches.”
Even Sloane is excited about the tournament and the Hopman Cup’s New Year’s Eve ball in particular:
“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,” said Stephens, whose ranking has skyrocketed 26 places in 10 months. I always love getting dressed up. That will be good to be able to get out and put on a nice outfit and look cute.”
Canadian No. 1 Milos Raonic will team up with top teenager Eugenie Bouchard in the mixed doubles competition. The World No. 11 has had an incredible summer that saw him make the finals of his first ever ATP Masters 1000, winning a title in Bangkok and reaching the final in Tokyo, where he lost a tough match to Juan Martin del Potro.
“I think Hopman Cup is a great way to start the year. You have a lot of guaranteed matches, a lot of opportunities to find your way especially after the off season,” Raonic said. “It gives you a chance to really get match sharp. It’s a great competitive atmosphere, a team atmosphere, something different and something I haven’t been involved in.”
The 2014 Hopman Cup will also see a Polish partnership between Jerzy Janowicz and World No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska,an Australian team of Sam Stosur and Bernard Tomic and an Italian team consisting of Andreas Seppi and recent US Open semifinalist Flavia Pennetta.