October 3, 2018
Serena Williams and Roger Federer will be on opposing sides of the net at the Hopman Cup in Australia.
The prospect of the modern game’s two most successful players in the same match is enticing. It makes for a mouthwatering start to the 2019 season.
The clash of the titans comes about because the USA will play Switzerland in the mixed doubles.
Federer and Belinda Bencic will be out to defend their title. And Serena will partner Frances Tiafoe as the Americans hope to take that title away.
Between them, Williams and Federer have 43 Grand Slam singles titles – an extraordinary number for just two people to have won.
Although Federer has never been a prolific doubles player, he did recently hit the headlines by partnering Novak Djokovic in the Laver Cup.
Now the tennis world can’t wait to see Serena firing her powerful serves at Federer and vice-versa.
For Williams, the fun match-up will offer a fresh, light-hearted focus after the trauma of her US Open final defeat to Naomi Osaka.
It will also provide the perfect warm-up for her next Grand Slam challenge.
Serena said: ‘The Aussie fans are always so warm and supportive and the Hopman Cup has always given me a great start to the season, especially ahead of the Australian Open.’
She will have warm memories of winning the Aussie Open in 2017 while eight weeks pregnant with her daughter Olympia.
The USA are due to meet Switzerland on New Year’s Day and Federer v Williams in the mixed doubles is a sensational way to welcome in 2019.
Cameron Norrie and Katie Boulter will also be in the mix, representing Great Britain in Perth.
Williams pulled out of the China Open and Federer is used to tailoring his own schedule to prolong his career. Both superstars know their time at the top won’t last for ever.
So we tennis fans are lucky indeed that the greatest players of modern times are on collision course before it is too late. And we only have three months to wait.
By Mark Ryan