Hopman Cup 2004
Serena to play in Hopman Cup team event
Serena Williams will begin preparations for her title defence at next year's Australian Open by playing in the Hopman Cup mixed team event in January.
World number three Williams will team up with James Blake to represent top seeds and defending Hopman Cup champions the U.S. in the eight-nation competition.
Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt will partner Alicia Molik for second-seeded Australia. Hewitt's girlfriend, world number one Kim Clijsters, teams up with Xavier Malisse for third seeds Belgium.
Fourth seeds Russia boast world number nine women's player Anastasia Myskina and former world number one Marat Safin.
The other four competing nations in the 16th Hopman Cup to be played in Perth from January 3-10 are France, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic and the winners of a playoff between Canada and Hungary.
Williams, 22, is mourning her sister Yetunde Price, who was shot dead in a Los Angeles suburb last month.
Australian Open chief executive Paul McNamee said last week he was "hopeful" Serena and her sister Venus would play in the grand slam event at Melbourne Park which starts on January 19 "even though they have been through something very traumatic".
McNamee, who is also the Hopman Cup tournament director, said on Tuesday in an International Tennis Federation statement that he was thrilled with the field for the Perth event.
"The top four teams each boast a player who's been ranked number one in the world," he said.
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