Roger Federer has committed to playing Hopman Cup to open the 2018 season, the organisers and the player revealed in a short message. He will once again, for a second straight year, play alongside Belinda Bencic representing Switzerland in the team event that works as a prelude to the first Grand Slam of the year at Australian Open.
The tournament proved to be a perfect preparation ground for Federer as he went on win the Australian Open a few weeks later by beating long-time rival Rafael Nadal in a dramatic final in Melbourne. It also ended Federer’s “drought” of Grand Slam titles stretching back to Wimbledon in 2012. It was Federer’s 18th Grand Slam crown.
“It was the perfect preparation because I was in a good mindset,” Federer said of the buildup to winning his 18th major title. “When I went to Melbourne, I could really look back on some great preparation and I think that’s what also made me win the Australian Open.”
“I’m very happy to be coming back (to the Hopman Cup) because I had the best time on and off the court. The fans were absolutely amazing, there were I think about 6,000 people at my first practice which I couldn’t believe, it was almost surreal walking into the stadium. Off-court we had a tonne of activities. My family and I had the best time. It was just a great, relaxing start to the year. Plus I played some really good tennis and I can’t wait to play again in Perth,” he said in a statement courtesy the organisers.
Returning to action after knee surgery and a lengthy period out, Federer’s first practice session in Perth attracted a whopping 6,000 fans – a crowd he described as “surreal”. The Switzerland-France match attracted a tournament record 13,917 fans.
At the Hopman Cup itself, the French team of Kristina Mladenovic and Richard Gasquet beat Federer and Bencic to seal a spot in the final, and then got the better of the American pair CoCo Vandeweghe and Jack Sock to win the title.