Guide to the first tournaments of the 2016 season at Hopman Cup, Brisbane International, ASB Classic in Auckland, Shenzhen Open, Chennai Open and Qatar Open in Doha.
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Hopman Cup (Perth, Australia)
Notable players: Andy Murray, Serena Williams, Nick Kyrgios
Hopman Cup is an ITF team-based tournament where co-ed teams representing their country play against one other, with each tie consisting of a women's singles match, a men's singles match and a mixed doubles match. Two groups of four teams will play in a round-robin format with the winners of each advancing to the final. This year, the host nation is fielding two teams—Australia Green and Australia Gold—consisting of Daria Gavrilova and Nick Kyrgios and Jarmila Wolfe and Lleyton Hewitt, respectively.
On the opening day of the tournament on Sunday, Gavrilova and Kyrgios advanced over Germany but the Czech Republic's team of Karolina Pliskova and Jiri Vesely defeated the Gold team. Vicky Duval stepped in for an injured Serena Williams, who pulled out of the U.S.'s opener vs. Ukraine with knee inflammation. Look out for Wednesday's tie between Australia Green and Great Britain's squad of Andy Murray and Heather Watson. At the end of the week, the winners of the each group will play for the title on Saturday.
Australia Gold: Jarmila Wolfe, Lleyton Hewitt
Czech Republic: Karolina Pliskova, Jiri Vesely
Ukraine: Elina Svitolina, Alexandr Dolgopolov
United States: Serena Williams, Jack Sock
Australia Green: Daria Gavrilova, Nick Kyrgios
France: Caroline Garcia, Kenny De Schepper
Germany: Sabine Lisicki, Alexander Zverev
Great Britain: Heather Watson, Andy Murray
Brisbane International (Brisbane, Australia)
Brisbane is hosting a jam-packed field of players, as Federer and Nishikori lead the ATP 250 tournament for the men and Sharapova and Halep top the field for the WTA Premier-level event. In the opening matches on Monday, Grigor Dimitrov defeated No. 5-seed Gilles Simon and 19-year-old Hyeon Chung beat Sam Groth to advance. Other notable players in the men's draw include Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem, Milos Raonic, Bernard Tomic and American Denis Kudla. For the women, Victoria Azarenka defeated Elena Vesnina on Monday to set up a must-see match-up against No. 1-seed Halep. Other matches to watch include a second-rounder between Dominika Cibulkova and Roberta Vinci, Varvara Lepchenko vs. Muguruza and Sharapova's opener against Ekaterina Makarova on Tuesday (late Monday evening E.T. time).
Qatar Exxon Mobil Open (Doha, Qatar)
Four of the ATP's Top 10 are in action in Doha, led by Djokovic and Nadal. Djokovic lost in last year's finals to Ivo Karlovic and he comes into the tournament having reached the final in 15 consecutive tournaments, which is a record for the most in a season. Also in the field are Feliciano Lopez, Andreas Seppi, Jeremy Chardy and Leonardo Mayer. Nadal opens his 2016 season on Tuesday against Pablo Carreno Busta and expressed eagerness to move on from his disappointing 2015 season on Monday.
"I feel myself ready for the next season,'' Nadal said. ''The expectations are the normal ones, positive ones, because I feel that I finished the past season playing well and I feel that I am playing well again."
Aircel Chennai Open (Chennai, India)
No. 4 Wawrinka tops the field in Chennai for the third straight year and returns as the defending champion of the tournament. The 30-year-old is coming off a career-best four titles (Chennai, Rotterdam, Roland Garros, Tokyo) last season and has Paire and Gilles Muller in his half of the draw. Anderson is the No. 2 seed and is joined by Roberto Bautista Agut, Vasek Pospisil and Borna Coric.
Shenzhen Open (Shenzhen, China)
One of eight events in China in 2016, this year's Shenzhen Open features only two of the WTA's Top 10 players but the field is an interesting one. 2015 WTA Finals champion Agnieszka Radwanska and WTA Finals runner-up Petra Kvitova are the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds and are joined by Irina-Camelia Begu, Monica Niculescu, Johanna Konta and Zarina Diyas. Eugenie Bouchard is back in action as the No. 6 seed and will open up against Donna Vekic.
ASB Classic (Auckland, New Zealand)
Coming off of her best season since 2010, Venus Williams is the top seed and also the defending champion in Auckland. She'll open up against Russia's Daria Kasatkina while No. 2-seed Ivanovic will play Britain's Naomi Broady, who beat top seed Magdalena Rybarikova in qualifying to earn her spot in the main draw. Sloane Stephens advanced in her opening match vs. Polona Hercog while CoCo Vandeweghe fell to fellow America Irina Falconi in three sets. Wozniacki, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Barbora Strycova are also in the field.