EVEN Roger Federer’s wildly-popular selfie with Serena Williams and a record attendance have not been enough to save the Hopman Cup.
The unique 31-year-old mixed teams tennis event has become a casualty of the emerging new order in tennis, with Perth to host a section of the inaugural ATP Cup teams event from next summer instead.
The West Australian capital has been chosen ahead of Adelaide to host the first six days of the 24-team event along with Brisbane, with the eight-team finals to be played in Sydney.
The WA state government had a contract to host the Hopman Cup through to 2022 but has negotiated an exit with Tennis Australia and the International Tennis Federation.
Co-founded by Australian doubles champion Paul McNamee in 1989 and named in honour of Harry Hopman, who guided Australia to 15 Davis Cup titles, the Hopman Cup proved a popular event to start the year in the lead up to the Australian Open.
Swiss champion Federer chose the Hopman Cup to launch his spectacular return to tennis in 2017 after six-months out of the game with a knee injury.
After he piloted Switzerland to the title, Federer completed an unbeaten summer to claim another slam title at Melbourne Park.
Novak Djokovic and Williams are among other superstars to have used the Hopman Cup as the kick-starter to successful Open campaigns in recent years.
A highlight of 2019 was the US-Swiss doubles showdown between Federer and Williams – the first time they had played a match against each other.
Beamed to more than 200 territories worldwide, a record 14,000 fans were in attendance to watch the winners of 43 grand slam titles between them do battle while more than 100,000 tickets were sold across the tournament.
Oh what a night 🎾🔥 pic.twitter.com/Fj9arBT6Ni
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) January 1, 2019
Federer’s selfie with Williams taken after the exhibition match went viral, shared with their combined 20 million fans on Twitter.
With a $21 million prize pool, the ATP Cup will be the richest event outside the four grand slams.
At the time, Serena Williams described the possible axing of the event as “heartbreaking”.