Fed­erer’s court back in ses­sion

Roger re­turn­ing to com­pe­ti­tion af­ter long lay­off

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Perth, Aus­tralia

Roger Fed­erer will make his long-awaited re­turn to ten­nis af­ter a six-month in­jury lay­off in Sun­day’s mixed teams Hopman Cup in Perth, ahead of next month’s Aus­tralian Open.

The Swiss 17-time Grand Slam cham­pion has not played a match since July, when he tore up his left knee in a tum­ble dur­ing the fi­nal set of a loss to Canada’s Mi­los Raonic in their Wim­ble­don semi­fi­nal.

Fed­erer, 35, had knee surgery for the first time in his ca­reer last Fe­bru­ary, and af­ter the Wim­ble­don set­back he did not fin­ish the sea­son, miss­ing out on the US Open and Rio Olympics.

Dur­ing his time out of the game, Andy Mur­ray and Novak Djokovic duked it out for the world No 1 rank­ing and his Swiss com­pa­triot Stan Wawrinka won the US Open.

Fed­erer makes his re­turn with his world rank­ing down to 16, his low­est since 2001.

The Swiss le­gend, who will part­ner with Belinda Ben­cic, said he is look­ing to ease his way back be­fore the start of the Aus­tralian Open in Mel­bourne on Jan 16.

“I’m re­ally pos­i­tive about how I’m feel­ing right now, and prac­tice is go­ing well,” said Fed­erer, who was watched by 5,000 fans at a prac­tice ses­sion in Perth on Thurs­day.

“Ex­pec­ta­tions are low be­cause I don’t have the matches yet and it’s go­ing to be best-of-five from the get-go at the Open.

“I’m happy I’ve got the Hopman Cup and I’ve got my three matches there to ease my way in.”

Nick Kyrgios also makes his re­turn in the Hopman Cup, af­ter sit­ting out an eight-week sus­pen­sion for his spec­tac­u­lar melt­down at the Shanghai Mas­ters in Oc­to­ber.

A con­di­tion of the ATP re­duc­ing the ban to three weeks meant the con­tro­ver­sial 21-year-old had to con­sult a sports psy­chol­o­gist to pre­pare him for the new sea­son.

Kyrgios, who will part­ner

Ten­nis su­per­star Ser­ena Wil­liams an­nounced on Thurs­day she is en­gaged to Red­dit co-founder Alexis Oha­nian, post­ing the news via a poem on her ver­i­fied Red­dit ac­count.

Wil­liams, 35, and Oha­nian, 33, did not re­veal a wed­ding date in the post­ings, listed un­der the Red­dit tag ‘isaidyes’.

The poem reads: “I came home a lit­tle late, Some­one had a bag packed for me, And a car­riage awaited, Des­ti­na­tion: Rome, To es­cort me to my very own “charm­ing” Back to where our stars first col­lided, And now it was full cir­cle At the same ta­ble we first met by chance, This time he made it not by chance But by choice, Down on one knee He said 4 words And isaidyes,” Wil­liams posted on her ac­count.

A re­ply from Oha­nian’s ver­i­fied ac­count said: “And you made me the hap­pi­est man on the planet.”

The WTA Tour, which Wil­liams has dom­i­nated for much of her ca­reer, posted a photo of

with Daria Gavrilova on the Aus­tralian team, said he is now fo­cus­ing on bet­ter man­ag­ing his time and play­ing sched­ule.

“The added me­dia in­ter­est is never easy and it’s some­thing that I haven’t fully got my head around or got­ten used to, but what can I do?” Kyrgios said.

“As far as how I’ ll deal with it, I’ll just keep my head down and go about my busi­ness as I have done the past few Aussie sum­mers.”

Dual Wim­ble­don cham­pion Pe­tra Kvi­tova pulled out of the Hopman Cup be­fore she was knifed dur­ing a home in­va­sion last week and re­quired surgery for a wound on her racket hand.

Kvi­tova will be out for six months and has been re­placed in Perth by three-time doubles Grand Slam cham­pion Lu­cie Hradecka, who part­ners with Adam Pavlasek on the Czech team.

Alexan­der Zverev, who is team­ing up with An­drea Petkovic to rep­re­sent Ger­many, said he is look­ing for­ward to his matches against Fed­erer and France’s Richard Gas­quet in his pool.

“It’s been a great event to start the year off. It gives you a big ad­van­tage play­ing a few matches here,” said Zverev, whose rank­ing has soared from 83rd at the start of the year to his cur­rent No 24.

Jack Sock and Coco Van­deweghe will be bid­ding to give the United States a record sev­enth vic­tory in the Hopman Cup.

Here is a list of the teams, with cur­rent rank­ings:

Aus­tralia — Nick Kyrgios (13)/Daria Gavrilova (25)

Czech Repub­lic — Adam Pavlasek (75)/Lu­cie Hradecka (165)

France — Richard Gas­quet (18)/Kristina Mlade­n­ovic (42)

Ger­many — Alexan­der Zverev (24)/An­drea Petkovic (55)

Bri­tain — Daniel Evans (66)/Heather Wat­son (76)

Spain — Feli­ciano Lopez (28)/Lara Ar­ru­abar­rena (66)

Switzer­land — Roger Fed­erer (16)/Belinda Ben­cic (43)

US — Jack Sock (23)/Coco Van­deweghe (36)

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