Sloane Stephens, John Isner to team up in strong Hopman Cup field
Americans Sloane Stephens and John Isner will begin their 2014 seasons by teaming up at the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia.
The exhibition, which runs from Dec. 28 to Jan. 4, features mixed teams representing eight countries competing in singles and doubles in round-robin play. It's the first time in Perth for Stephens, who began her 2013 season at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. This is the third appearance for Isner, who won with Bethanie Mattek-Sands in 2011 and partnered with Venus Williams this year.
The Americans join a strong field that includes Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova and Milos Raonic. The teams, seeded by players' singles rankings, have been drawn into two groups. Each team plays the other three teams in its group, and the best pair from each group advances to the final.
Here's the full list of teams and seedings:
Poland (1): Agnieszka Radwanska & Jerzy Janowicz
Canada (4): Eugenie Bouchard & Milos Raonic
Italy (6): Flavia Pennetta & Andreas Seppi
Australia (7): Sam Stosur & Bernard Tomic
United States (2): Sloane Stephens & John Isner
France (3): Alize Cornet & Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Czech Republic (5): Petra Kvitova & Radek Stepanek
Spain (8): Anabel Medina Garrigues & Tommy Robredo
The exhibition takes place the same week as the first regular-season ATP and WTA tournaments, meaning some players who opt for the Hopman Cup won't be able to defend tournament points from this year. For instance, Radwanska won't be defending her title points and Stephens her semifinal points from the ASB Classic. But players enjoy the relaxed Hopman Cup atmosphere, which still guarantees them at least three singles matches against top-flight competition as they prepare for the Australian Open.
Here's the launch video announcing next year's teams: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywH9eDvSHLA#t=172