The end of the Hopman Cup, which has been officially crushed under the $20 million juggernaut of the new ATP Cup from next January, has hit Roger Federer hard.
The winner alongside Belinda Bencic of the last two editions of the eight-nation mixed team event which survived for 31 years, said he regretted seeing the end of the Perth spectacular.
“It’s a bit sad news that that’s happening,” said the man who repeatedly gave his public support for the event, especially during last January’s potential last edition.
“I enjoyed the last three years playing there. I played there with (now wife) Mirka (Vavrinec in 2002) too. With Martina (Hingis, they won the 2001 title).
“I look back, always had a wonderful time. I don’t know what to say. I’m a bit torn. So that’s it.”
The popular event which brought out Western Australia fans in their thousands at the start of each New Year, will be replaced by a segment of the ATP Cup, to be staged as a run-up event to the Australian Open with preliminaries in Perth and Brisbane before the finals in Sydney.
The competition – designed specifically to combat the new-look Davis Cup to be staged over a week next November in Madrid – will run for 10 days and feature 24 three-player national teams.
Federer drew a parallel to the current Miami Masters, which was forced to change venues from a picturesque island off the Miami coast to the parking lot of an American gridiron stadium in a gritty part of the Florida metropolis.
“It’s similar to this situation here; we’re not in Key Biscayne anymore. We’re not in Perth anymore for Hopman Cup, but this is where the spirit is or was, will always be.
“Maybe in 50 years we’ll talk differently.”