Roger Federer will begin his 20th season as a professional at the Hopman Cup next year, returning to the international mixed doubles team tournament in Perth for the first time since 2002.
The 34-year-old Swiss, ranked three in the world, will be partnered at the Perth Arena from January 1-7 by compatriot Belinda Bencic, who was 16 months old when Federer turned professional in July 1998.
“I do remember it was a good preparation way back when so I thought it would be nice to do it again,” the 17-times grand slam champion, a Hopman Cup winner with Martina Hingis in 2001, said.
“I can’t wait to come back because I think it will be the perfect way to start the new season.”
At the 2002 Hopman Cup Federer teamed up with Miroslava Vavrinec, losing two of their three group matches. The tournament was won by Tommy Robredo and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario for Spain.
Seven years later Federer and Vavrinec got married.
Earlier this year, Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova teamed up to give Australia their first Hopman Cup triumph since 1999.
“I’m absolutely delighted to be able to play with Roger in mixed doubles and represent my country at the Hopman Cup,” said 19-year-old Bencic, currently ranked 16 in the world.
“I’ve never played in Perth, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it.”
Bencic, who won the junior titles at Wimbledon and Roland Garros, is currently recovering from a wrist injury, which has seen her ranking slip from seventh in the world in February.
Federer and Bencic will both be representing Switzerland at the Olympic Games in Rio along with Stan Wawrinka, Timea Bacsinszky, Martina Hingis and Viktorija Golubic. The Games begin on August 5.
Federer will play doubles with Wawrinka and mixed doubles with Hingis.
swissinfo.ch and agencies