Roger Federer to kick off 2018 season alongside Belinda Bencic at Hopman Cup

Bencic and Federer will team up for the second year in a row.Getty Images

Roger Federer will partner Belinda Bencic at January's Hopman Cup, where the 19-time grand slam champion kick off his 2018 campaign. The pair will represent Switzerland at the international team event in Perth, which acts as the traditional curtain raiser for the new season ahead of the opening major of the year at the Australian Open.

The 36-year-old Federer will play at the event for the second year in succession, and though he and world number 197 Bencic failed to progress beyond the group stage last year he went on to win the Australian Open for a fifth time in Melbourne, beating Rafael Nadal in the final.

Federer had already confirmed his appearance at next year's Hopman Cup earlier in the year but the identity of his playing partner has now been revealed. Bencic, 20, is a former French Open and Wimbledon junior champion, but in the last 18 months has dropped out of the world's top 100. She spent five months out of the sport earlier this year.

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The line-up for the 2018 edition of the Hopman Cup, the 30th time the event has been staged, also includes an all-star Germany team including former world number one Angelique Kerber and 20-year-old Alexander Zverev, who rose to world number four in 2017. Australia will be represented by Daria Gavrilova and Thanasi Kokkinakis, while Eugenie Bouchard and Vasek Pospisil will play for Canada.

Japan will make their first appearance for 16 years at the event, but Great Britain are not represented despite having entered teams in each of the last three years. Dan Evans and Heather Watson teamed up this year but crashed out after failing to win any of their three group matches.

Tournament Director Paul Kilderry said: "The Mastercard Hopman Cup will feature one of its strongest fields in history with three top ten players and six current top 20 players coming to Perth in January.

"We have Roger Federer, world No.2 and 19-time Grand Slam champion and one of the greatest tennis players of all time, returning to Perth. For the first time since 2001 the Mastercard Hopman Cup will feature a Japanese team which is a fantastic addition to our field as we look to engage the Asia Pacific region more closely in 2018."

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