The Hopman Cup, a.k.a. the fun, Australian sidekick to international angst festivals Davis and Fed Cups, revealed some of its line up on Tuesday. So far we have five major champions – with a total of 24 major singles titles – in the mix (okay, 20 of those belong to Serena and Justine) and a whole new crop of hybrid nicknames to invent. So who are you rooting for?
Isiams! (Pronounced Is-I-Ams) As short as John is tall, don’t be fooled by this petite team moniker. That ball will be served down someone’s everlovin’ throat on a regular basis.
Justeven! Stumped? That would be Justine Henin making her debut in Perth with world No. 110 Steven Darcis, of course.
Anole! Of course you could always go for the classic Djokanovic, but Anole sounds like a soulful character in a Dostoyevsky novel. The kind of man who grew up playing tennis in empty swimming pools and posing for slightly melancholic photo spreads in his underwear.
Here’s Ana, buffing away at the tarnish in her silver lining (via HopmanCup.com):
“I’m very happy to be returning to Perth to play in the Hyundai Hopman Cup. Playing there in 2006 is one of my fondest memories in tennis, because I enjoyed it so much. The organizers treat the players so, so well and the atmosphere is great.
“Novak and I are good friends and I often play my best tennis when I’m relaxed, but for sure we’re going to be competing hard and doing our best to win the competition.”
Lleyton is the lonliest number. . .
The better half of Team Hewitt will be announced later, according to the website. Yeah, that means you Sam.
Mladmonf! Gael “The Force” Monfils is teaming up with 17 year old Kristina Mladenovic. Both were ranked No. 1 in juniors. It’s always fun to watch a young stud struggle to play big bro to a teenage ingenue. Speaking of, here’s hoping that last year’s finalists Andy Murray and Laura Robson return for the second straight year. After all, he owes her.
“I kind of let her (Laura) down today so I feel bad about that,” said Murray, who also revealed Robson – despite earning the largest cheque of her career (75,000 Australian dollars, about £43,000) – had been disappointed to miss out on the winners’ trophy of a diamond-encrusted tennis ball.
“She is perhaps a little more disappointed than me because of the diamonds, but I told her she can buy them with the prize money.” (via Telegraph)
I don’t know, it’s not Robson who’s looking like Eeyore.
Additional teams will be announced in October.
Diamond encrusted tennis balls!
The Hopman Cup starts Saturday, January 2. It will be here before you know it.