Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Murray set for Hopman Cup battle
Lleyton Hewitt and Casey Dellacqua will represent Team Australia Gold at the 2016 Hopman Cup, with Andy Murray and Heather Watson representing Team GB.
World No.3 and two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray will return to Western Australia for the 28th edition of the Hopman Cup, at Perth Arena from 3 to 9 January 2016.
Murray will be joined by Great Britain’s No.1 female player Heather Watson for the second consecutive year.
Australian stalwart and former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt will begin his final summer of tennis in Perth, partnering local favourite Casey Dellacqua.
Tournament Director Paul Kilderry announced the two teams on the eve of a historic Davis Cup semifinal between Australia and Great Britain in Glasgow this weekend. Hewitt and Murray will lead their respective teams, vying for a berth in the final of the World Cup of tennis.
Kilderry also released the highly anticipated Hopman Cup schedule of play.
Murray, Great Britain’s most successful player ever, will make his fourth appearance at the Hopman Cup in January.
In 2015, the 28-year-old began his Australian summer campaign in Perth before his phenomenal run to contest his fourth Australian Open men’s final. Murray has since finished as a semifinalist at Roland Garros and Wimbledon and has captured four men’s titles this year adding to his career total of 35.
Murray said he values the preparation Hopman Cup gives players ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year.
“They have a great crowd there. The new centre court is extremely similar to Melbourne Park and Rod Laver Arena, so it’s great preparation for the Aussie Open,” Murray said.
“The thing I like most about it from a preparation standpoint is that the conditions are extremely hot there… and also you’re guaranteed matches.
“You’re guaranteed to play three singles, three mixed matches, so you get time on court.”
Watson returns to Perth after her last visit to the west set her up for a strong start to 2015. Following Hopman Cup 2015 Watson secured her second career singles title in Hobart ahead of the Australian Open.
Watson is thrilled to be heading back to sunny Perth to play with Murray for Team Great Britain.
“I loved being on a team with Andy. I didn’t really have to do much work because he did it all.
“He was just so fun to play with, very relaxed,” Watson said of her 2015 experience in Perth.
“Perth Arena is amazing to play in. The atmosphere is always great and I think the Aussie crowd is one of the best.
“I absolutely love playing for my country. Every opportunity I get I usually take it,” Watson continued.
For the first time in Hopman Cup history two Australian teams – Australia Gold and Australia Green will contest the ITF’s official mixed team competition.
Lleyton Hewitt and Casey Dellacqua will represent Australia Gold, with the Australia Green team to be announced next month.
“I’ve always loved playing the Hopman Cup, I love playing for my country,” said Hewitt, the former world No.1 who will lineup for his eighth appearance at the event.
“I’ve never played in the new stadium in Perth either so I’m looking forward to it.
“Plus for my last Australian Open I think it’s great preparation. I’m guaranteed the three matches but hopefully four if we can make the final.
“I’ve got a lot of great memories…. the amazing crowds. Every year the crowds turn up for no matter what countries are playing each other, but especially when Australia is playing. It’s always a packed house,” said Hewitt, who alongside Alicia Molik finished as Hopman Cup finalists in 2003.
“I’m really excited for the opportunity to play with Lleyton… he is coming to the end of his career and I’m at the later stages of mine so we’ve got a lot of experience on the Gold team,” Dellacqua said.
The in-form Dellacqua has had an outstanding year in doubles, reaching the finals at Roland Garros and the US Open, and winning the title in Madrid.
Kilderry said he was excited with the line-up for 2016 and believes tennis fans will relish the opportunity to see some of the world’s best players in action.
“We’re extremely excited to welcome Andy Murray and Heather Watson back to Perth,” Kilderry said.
“Perth Arena came to life when Great Britain played earlier this year, the atmosphere was electric. Both players bring great energy to centre court and we know there will be lots of fans cheering them on.
“Lleyton is a former world No.1 and has achieved so much in his career. It’s a fantastic opportunity for fans to see him in action in Perth before he farewells the sport at his final Australian Open.
“Perth always has a soft spot for Casey and her recent form is outstanding – she and Lleyton will make a formidable team.
“We’ve released the event’s schedule well in advance to help fans plan their visit to the event.
“Joining Great Britain and Australia Gold in 2016 will be representatives from the Czech Republic, Germany, France, Ukraine, United States and Australia Green. The full list of players will be released in October.
“As in 2015, we’re happy to announce children’s tickets will be $10 across all sessions including the final.
“We thank our founding sponsor Tourism WA for their ongoing support as the Hopman Cup continues to cement its position as WA’s premier international sporting event, showcasing Perth to the world,” Kilderry added.