Nadal, Murray and Osaka to head Brisbane event as Federer and Williams set for Perth
The potential last edition of the ATP Brisbane event will try to challenge the star-power duopoly of Roger Federer and Serena Williams at the rival Hopman Cup when the events clash the first week of the new year.
The Hopman – also due for the axe after Tennis Australia threw its lot in with a controversial ATP effort to revive the dead-and-buried World Team Cup by bringing it back to life at the expense of the entire pre-Australian Open calendar – is hoping to exit on a high note form the tennis scene.
According to plans which are apparently steamrolling ahead, the WTC will replace current ATP-WTA dual events in Brisbane and Sydney as well as sounding the death knoll for the 30-year-old Hopman competition.
Federer will lead Switzerland at the team event in Perth while Williams will follow up her US Open meltdown by playing for the US, her first event since her epic emotional fail in New York.
Meanwhile, Brisbane is touting a trio of former champions as well as Rafael Nadal in its lineup.
Joining the currently injured Spaniard in the Queensland field will be ex-winners Andy Murray, defending champion Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov. US Open winner Naomi Osaka will top the women’s field.
No. 27 Kyrgios won his first home title at Brisbane 10 months ago and is keen to defend: “The memories of that event are so enjoyable.
“I did a little training block in Brisbane before Brisbane started, so it felt like home, and the tournament worked out so well as preparation for the Australian Open,” he said.
Murray, twice a Brisbane champion, hope to show of the results of some major rehab after ending his abbreviated 2018 season early last month and heading off court to work on his form to try and speed up a glacially slow hip surgery recovery effort.
“I always enjoy going back there. It’s the first tournament of the year and the Aussies are always great fun to be around,” the Scot said. “Al of the players are always on good form and pumped because it’s the start of the new season.
Added tournament TD Cameron Pearson: “Andy has honoured his word that he would return to Brisbane and has already begun focussing on the tournament and being back to peak fitness in time for the Australian summer.”
Dimitrov won the local event in 2017 and played the final four years previously.
“It’s such a refreshing start every year to begin my tournaments out there,” he said.
“You have a little bit of the off season, then all of a sudden you come back to basically a full house every time you play. Hopefully I’m able to deliver again and again every time.”