Retiring great Lleyton Hewitt will be aiming to land a belated Hopman Cup crown this summer in his eighth and final attempt – but he may need to defeat an Australian to do it.
For the first time in the Hopman Cup’s 28-year history, Australia will feature two separate teams.
Hewitt, who will retire after next year’s Australian Open, and Casey Dellacqua will be part of the Australia ‘Gold’ team.
The make up of an Australia ‘Green’ team will be unveiled next month.
Fans will be hoping tennis bad boy Nick Kyrgios will be lured to the January 3-9 mixed-teams event as part of the Green outfit.
Kyrgios was scheduled to play at last January’s Hopman Cup, but pulled out because of a back injury.
The Australian Green and Gold teams will be placed in separate pools – meaning they will only meet each other if they both reach the final.
World No.3 and dual grand slam winner Andy Murray will team with Heather Watson for Great Britain.
The teams to represent Germany, Czech Republic, Ukraine, USA, and France will be named next month.
The closest Hewitt has come to tasting Hopman Cup success was when he reached the final with Alicia Molik in 2003, with the US pairing of James Blake and Serena Williams prevailing 3-0.
Australia’s only title at the mixed-teams event came in 1999 when Mark Philippoussis and Jelena Dokic beat Sweden in the final.
Hewitt said the Hopman Cup would play a perfect role in his tennis swansong this summer.
“For my last Australian Open I think it’s great preparation,” Hewitt said.
“I’m guaranteed the three matches, but hopefully four if we can make the final.
“I’ve always loved playing the Hopman Cup. I love playing for my country. I’ve got a lot of great memories.”
The Hopman Cup announcement comes just two days before the start of the Davis Cup semi-final between Australia and Britain in Glasgow.
Hewitt and Murray are expected to play key roles in the tie for their respective nations.
Murray said his upcoming appearance in Perth would give him the ideal preparation for the Australian Open.
“The thing I like most about it from a preparation standpoint is that the conditions are extremely hot there,” Murray said.
“And you’re guaranteed to play three singles, three mixed matches, so you get time on court.”
Defending champions Poland (Jerzy Janowicz and Agnieszka Radwanska) won’t return next January.