It was alleged on the back sports page of a Perth newspaper that Anna Kournikova has said that she will never play the Hopman Cup as long as it is held indoors. If the claims are true, then that's a real shame and her loss really. No other player has ever protested to the event being played indoors. It's usually thought to be a good warmup for Melbourne, and has very good word-of-mouth from the players themselves. Anna's alleged claims are also strange considering that she wanted to play the event two years ago.
Anna wanted to play the Hopman Cup at the start of 2000, the year the star players fell by the wayside. Monica Seles was down to play with former champion Justin Gimelstob but her shins were bothering her, and they both subsequently withdrew.
Steffi Graf wanted to make a farewell appearance with a top German male (either Tommy Haas or Nicolas Kiefer) but none were available (Haas reportedly declined the invitation even though he hadn't committed to play any tournaments during the same week at that point, and Keifer was committed to Doha).
And as for Anna herself, she approached Paul MacNamee at the US Open and asked to play for Russia but Paul wasn't able to secure the services of either Yevgeny Kafelnikov or Marat Safin (both were committed to Doha) for her to partner with.
Without the big name players, the highest ranked players that year were Barbara Schett (No. 7) from Austria and Mark Philippoussis (No. 11) of Australia, neither of whom you would consider a marquee name in the same league as Graf, Seles or Kournikova.
The winners that year were South Africa, who had been trying to win the event for nearly seven years. The following year, the stars returned in the form of Hingis, Seles, Gambill, Clijsters, Federer, and Safin.
I can sort of understand Anna's decision of not wanting to play. She must want to play outdoors to get used to the weather conditions, but she had access to the outdoor courts that were available less than 3 minutes away at the State Tennis Centre (most of the players practice and hit up there during the week). And you'd think that playing for your country and staying at a comfortable, luxurious five-star casino-hotel would be an added extra incentive.
Oh well. :rolleyes:
No Anna K = no big security freak out = no troublemakers. There is a positive to every negative. ;)
Jan 6th, 2002, 11:28 PM
Steffi Graf wanted to make a farewell appearance with a top German male (either Tommy Haas or Nicolas Kiefer) but none were available (Haas reportedly declined the invitation even though he hadn't committed to play any tournaments during the same week at that point, and Keifer was committed to Doha)
OMG!!!! Steffi wanted to play Hopman Cup!!!! That would be fantastic!!!
Jan 7th, 2002, 08:17 PM
Yeah, it would've been an absolute bonus for the tournament that year, Kris.
It was revealed during the 2000 event that Steffi had asked to play it as part of her farewell tour. But the trouble was finding her a German male to partner. She didn't want just any old player either. She wanted either Haas or Kiefer, someone who could help her win the event. Haas was the first choice. When it was known that Kiefer was already committed to Doha, Haas became the only choice. As fate had it, Haas would controversially decline the invitation to play the mixed teams event for his country with one of tennis' most legendary female players. At the time, he hadn't decided where he wanted to play that week to prepare for the Australian Open. He eventually chose Adelaide. It was reported that his friends and fans were shocked at his decision. How could he turn Steffi down? Was his last experience in Perth so bad?
Just imagine. The 2000 event potentially had three of the biggest names in women's tennis (Seles, Graf, Kournikova) all wanting to participate. Sadly, all three of them were never able to be in the same event at the same time. Steffi and Anna potentially had sell-out sessions virtually guaranteed.
Jan 7th, 2002, 10:11 PM
Thanks for your comments Aloysius
Jan 8th, 2002, 04:59 PM
Steffi did play Hopman Cup. With Boris Becker, if I'm not mistaken and they lost in the finals. I think she also played it with Michael Stich, but the only time that Germany won it was when Anke Huber partnered Boris Becker.
As for Kournikova, I wouldn't place too much store by this rumour. There are always rumours about Anna not liking this and that. I hope she plays it at some point with Yevgeny.
Jan 8th, 2002, 09:01 PM
No problem, Kris.
sk, I agree about them being just rumours. Poor Anna is always dogged by them. If and when she does play, I hope it's with Marat. Both are young and exciting, and Marat is familiar with the Perth crowd. Yevgeny would be okay too but he should team with Dementieva. I think they suit each other better.
And yeah, Steffi won the Cup with Michael Stich in 1993 to make up for the disappointment of 1992. It was her third appearance. She partnered Boris Becker in 92 but had to withdraw in the semis due to Rubella (German measles). I remember Helena Sukova and Karel Novacek not exactly being nice that year because they felt robbed of a higher seeding.
Steffi committed to play one more time in 1997 with Bernd Karbacher, but had to pull out to rest an injury, the same one that would eventually sit her out for the rest of the year after the French Open. She wanted to play one last time in 2000 because she had fond memories of the tournament. She hadn't played it for nearly seven years!
Jan 8th, 2002, 09:44 PM
92: Steffi had to withdraw in her singles match, she won first set but then she lost second. Boris defeated Novacek. In the mixed the German team lost 4-6 4-6 :(
Jan 9th, 2002, 06:22 AM
It's ridiculous not to have a Russian team there. Anna could have played with Mikhail Youzhny or Andrei Stoliarov. In fact there are plenty of good female and male Russian tennis players. Russia should have been represented in the 2002 Hopman Cup.
Why is it played indoors?
Jan 16th, 2002, 04:31 AM
Hopman Cup is played outdoors, not indoors.
Jan 16th, 2002, 06:50 PM
It's definitely played indoors, Josh. Inside a pressurized dome in fact. The "roof" is a 2mm thick rubber canvass material, held up by pressurized air. The planned future sports stadium will have a retractable roof, so it looks as though the Hopman Cup could be played outdoors in a couple of years time.
Jan 22nd, 2002, 07:51 PM
My journalist friend gave me some goss about next years event (all unsubstantiated, of course ;)):
* Martina Hingis has made a verbal agreement with Paul MacNamee to play for Switzerland next year with Roger Federer.
* The United States want to give it another shot. Jan-Michael Gambill may not return, but Monica Seles is most likely to.
* It's assumed that Spain will return to defend their title. Tommy Robredo may return, but Arantxa Sanchez Vicario is uncertain.
* Rumours have Austria making a return to the fold next year with Barbara Schett and Stefan Koubek.
* Guillermo Coria may front up for real next year to make up for this years unfortunate withdrawal, meaning that Argentina could return, most likely with Paola Suarez.
* Italy may return, but this time in the main draw, as successful qualifying nations usually return the following year in the main draw. Francesca Schiavone will most likely return.
* Lleyton Hewitt may or may not return. He's a bit superstitious and currently undecided.
Jan 29th, 2002, 02:55 AM
Steffi also played hopman cup at the very first edition in 88, I think Patrick Kuhnen was her partner
Jan 29th, 2002, 02:57 AM
poor Steffi in 92 and then she was fit again and went to swim with delphins and then she got sick again :sad:
just to remember how sad her trip to Australia was that year:sad:
Jan 29th, 2002, 10:03 PM
I tell you what would make Hopman Cup more interesting - if a country had to be represented by different players every year!!!
How could would that be!
Given how much the Williams sisters adore Pete Sampras why don't we have a Williams/Sampras team!!!
Or Capriati/Agassi !!!
Jan 30th, 2002, 07:39 PM
I don't know about a rotation, but I'd definitely like to see more top players participate, especially on the men's side. Sampras was down to play in 1991 (the year that Yugoslavia won) with Zina Garrison, but had to pull out due to shin splints. Capriati was down to play in 1994 with John McEnroe, but Mac got injured and Jen had already decided that she wanted a break from tennis.
I'd like to see Jen team up with Andy Roddick. No offense to Jan-Mike and Monica. Alongside the US, they could have Martina & Roger for Switzerland, and Marat & Anna for Russia. A French side with a resurgent Mary Pierce and Arnaud Clement would complete the top four seedings. But then Australia would need to compete and I see Mark Philippoussis making a return next year.
There's also the possibility over the next few years that the draw may expand and that more teams will be allowed to participate. I'm not sure how this will work out as the schedule is tight enough as it is for a one week event with a Saturday final.
May 1st, 2002, 05:26 PM
Who cares if she isn't playing? Natsya is a much better option for Russia, if Russia played, of course ;)