Reigning Australian Open champion Serena Williams and Belgian champion Justine Henin head an impressive list of talent for the mixed teams Hopman Cup next January.
Tournament director Paul McNamee on Tuesday confirmed the first five teams for the unique eight-nation event starting on January 1 with a field that looks set to be best ever to contest the 22-year-old tournament. Joining Williams and Henin will be Serbia’s men’s world No.2 Novak Djokovic, who will be joined by countrywoman Ana Ivanovic, and dual grand slam champion Lleyton Hewitt.
Frenchman Gael Monfils, ranked 17th in the world, is also among the nine players already confirmed.
It will be Henin’s first appearance in Perth and comes just under 12 months after she stunned the tennis world by reaching the final of the Australian Open in her comeback to Grand Slam tennis.
Williams will be making her third appearance here, having won the event on both her previous visits.
Safina ends slump, downs Bondarenko
San Diego: Former world number one Dinara Safina ended a six match losing streak by beating Alona Bondarenko 6-1 7-6 in the first round of the San Diego Open on Monday.
Safina was joined in the second round by another Russian, Alisa Kleybanova, who overcame Aravane Rezai of France 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 to earn herself a match up against top seed Jelena Jankovic.
Nalbandian wins in impressive ATP return
Washington: Former world number three David Nalbandian made an impressive ATP return on Monday after being out since April with a left hamstring injury, beating Rajeev Ram 6-4, 6-0 at the Washington Classic.
He had not played a tour event since losing on clay at the Monte Carlo quarterfinals, but won twice without dropping a set to lead Argentina past Russia last month in a Davis Cup quarterfinal tie.