"COME ON - SERENA" "LET'S GO!" "I CAN'T HARDLY WAIT"
Serena Williams for Perth
By DIGBY BEACHAM
EXPLOSIVE world No. 1 Serena Williams will spearhead the US challenge at the Hopman Cup.
In a spectacular coup for the mixed teams championship, to be staged at the Burswood Dome from December 28-January 4, Williams' appearance will be officially announced at the Cup launch in Perth on Tuesday.
The signing of Williams, along with Australia's reigning Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt, ensures the event will boast, for the first time, both world No. 1 players.
It means this Hopman Cup is certain to be one of the strongest in its 15-year history.
It is expected Williams will be partnered by rising star James Blake, who played in the event in 2000. Hewitt's partner will be revealed next week.
Williams, 21, became just the seventh woman in history to win three consecutive Grand Slam singles titles when she eclipsed older sister Venus in the final of this year's US Open. That followed her straight-sets successes against Venus at Wimbledon and the French Open earlier in the year.
She missed the Australian Open early in the year through injury but will complete the "Serena Slam" at Melbourne Park in January if she wins the Australian Open, the only Grand Slam that has eluded her.
Williams, who has won eight singles titles this year and pocketed more than $6 million, had tennis tongues wagging worldwide at the US Open when she work a black body-hugging outfit.
Former world No. 1 Martina Hingis, 22, will take another break from tennis following disappointing results after her comeback from an ankle injury. Asked whether she planned to be at the Australian Open, she said: "That is not decided, that remains open; I have set myself no dates."