Twenty-three-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams teams top with young American Frances Tiafo for Hopman Cup classic
Australia’s most isolated capital city is gearing up to host another sensational tennis event, the Mastercard Hopman Cup, which starts at the impressive Perth Arena from December 29.
And two of the world’s greatest players, Serena Williams and Roger Federer, will play against each other on New Year’s Day at the event, with the mixed team tournament shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested in its history.
“I always enjoy playing in Western Australia in front of the crowd at Perth Arena. The Aussie fans are so warm and supportive and the Hopman Cup always gives me a great start to the season, especially ahead of the Australian Open,” Williams told tournament organisers.
Williams will make her Australian tennis return for the first time since her Australian Open win in 2017, when eight-weeks pregnant with baby Olympia and will team up with with will Frances Tiafoe to represent the United States.
“I haven’t played with Frances in mixed doubles before, but have watched him from a far this year. He has a very bright future and I’m looking forward to being on court with him, it will be a lot of fun,” she added.
Team USA will face a New Year’s Day showdown against Team Switzerland, led by 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic.
Germany’s Angelique Kerber, the world No.3, world No.5 Alexander Zverev will return with hopes of improving on their finals finish this year.
World No.19 and Australia’s top ranked player Ashleigh Barty will team up with Perth’s Matt Ebden to represent Australia.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza and former world No.3 David Ferrer will represent Spain.
Greece is represented by childhood friends, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari and France join the field with 2017 Davis Cup champion Lucas Pouille and Alize Cornet.
Cameron Norrie and Katie Boulter represent GB.
Barty, who has won nine career doubles titles, will play the Hopman Cup for the first time in six years.
“I’m really excited to be back at the Hopman Cup,” she said.
“The fans are amazing and Perth Arena is phenomenal. It’s one of my favourite courts around Australia. The fans are passionate, they love their sport, and I think it’s the perfect preparation leading into the Australian Open.
“Mixed [doubles] is always so much fun. I think for the girls it’s a bit of a challenge to play against the guys. For me, I get to play with a little bit more freedom, little bit extra fun, just going out there and trying to do my best against some of the best guys in the world.”
“The Hopman Cup will welcome two of the greatest tennis players in history to Western Australia in 2019,” Hopman Cup Tournament Director Paul Kilderry said.
“In total we will have four Grand Slam singles champions, three top 10 players and eight top 20 players.
The Mastercard Hopman Cup 2019 field:
 Matt Ebden and  Ashleigh Barty
 Lucas Pouille and  Alize Cornet
 Alexander Zverev and  Angelique Kerber
 Cameron Norrie and  Katie Boulter
 Stefanos Tsitsipas and  Maria Sakkari
 David Ferrer and  Garbine Muguruza
 Roger Federer and  Belinda Bencic
 Frances Tiafoe and  Serena Williams