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The Hopman Cup made its return to the tennis calendar for the first time since 2019 and all that it has done is convince tennis fans that the tournament is dead.

This tournament has seen some of the greatest ever to play the sport take to the court, and 2023 boasted some sensational names such as Wimbledon champion and World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz, Holger Rune, Borna Coric, Elise Mertens, Richard Gasquet, Donna Vekic, Alize Cornet and David Goffin.

Coric and Vekic became the first Croatian team since Iva Majoli and Goran Ivanisevic in 1996 to lift the title after defeating the two-time defending champion in Switzerland 2-0 in the final.

But, did anybody actually care?

Short answer is no.

The ATP tried sharing videos across its Tennis TV platforms but in reality the eyeballs and care factor eluded this once staple event.

Originally discarded from the Australian summer calendar due to the ATP Cup’s inception in 2020, later becoming the United Cup that would take what the Hopman Cup was and put it on steroids, spreading it across the country.

While the Perth based event fluctuated in terms of attention and fans’ feelings towards it, the Australian tennis fans embraced it as quite an important facet of the lead up to the first major of the year.

It gave players a chance to enjoy at least three singles and mixed doubles matches before making their way east to Melbourne Park, which proved beneficial for an abundance of players over the years.

Roger Federer enjoyed time in Perth before his final two Australian Open titles, with 2017’s edition proving vital as he was coming back from a gargantuan injury layoff dating back to his Wimbledon semifinal loss to Milos Raonic in 2016.

Federer and Belinda Bencic would clinch the last two tournaments in Australia, showcasing a real adoration for the event and the relaxed vibe that it created for players ahead of a gruelling season.

Other stars to have graced the Western Australian shores for the event included Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Murray, Marion Bartoli, Dinara Safina, Marat Safin, Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport.

It didn’t go towards their career head-to-heads or win-loss statistics and gave players no ranking points, but it was still extremely relevant and quite frankly has left a small void thanks to the convoluted nature of the United Cup so far.

But ideas took shape and the Hopman Cup was out, no longer required on the calendar and left without a place, with ITF President David Haggerty ensuring it would return following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Then it was announced that the event would make its comeback in July 2023 in Nice on the glorious French Riviera.

Assuming that the picturesque location is there to mask the smell of the rotting carcass that the Hopman Cup is.

The case could be made for the event if it was held in the USA ahead of the final Grand Slam of the year, or of course remaining in Nice but as a prelude to Roland Garros.

But why on earth is it staged on clay when the surface is at its least relevant at this time of the year?

There is no major on it, nor are there any ATP or WTA tournaments after July.

Some may not agree, but it is one of the more historic events and it means something to many of Australians who have grown up watching it on their annual break in the first week of the year.

The ITF has treated it as an afterthought with no ties to its previous history in any way, shape or form.

The Hopman Cup deserved better, and if it is to somehow survive, it simply must create a purpose.


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