Hewitt, Serena Williams to play Hopman Cup
World number ones Lleyton Hewitt and Serena Williams will begin their preparations for next year's Australian Open at the Hopman Cup, tournament organisers announced on Tuesday.
SERENA: From kid sister to Grand Slam winner
Wimbledon champion Hewitt will partner Alicia Molik in the Australian team at the unique mixed teams event while Williams, winner of the past three women's grand slam titles, will join James Blake in the United States team.
"This is the first time both reigning number ones will be at the tournament. It's a coup," Hopman Cup chief executive Rick Williams said.
Eight countries will contest the next Hopman Cup, to be held in Perth from December 28 to January 4, with the U.S. seeded first ahead of Australia, Czech Republic, Belgium, Slovak Republic, Spain and Italy.
Paraguay and Uzbekistan will play off for the eighth and final spot in the event, now in its 15th year.
Hewitt, who is striving to become the first local player since Mark Edmonson in 1976 to win the Australian Open, also entered last year's Hopman Cup but had to pull out after being diagnosed with chicken pox.
"After what happened with chicken pox and everything last year, I felt bad for Alicia and the crowd. So I really wanted to come back and give it a shot with her again," Hewitt said.
The Australian Open is the only grand slam title to have eluded the powerful Williams sisters and Serena's decision to play in Perth, the first event on the Australasian circuit, shows her determination to end the family drought next year.