Federer’s court back in session
Roger returning to competition after long layoff
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)