Switzerland won their third Hopman Cup in Perth by defeating Germany 2-1 for the title.
Led by the 36-year-old Roger Federer, the world No.2 partnered by Belinda Bencic, the duo were forced into a Mixed doubles decider, played to the Fast4 format, to secure the title for a third time in the 30 year-history of the tournament.
I played great throughout the three sets and Sasha probably dropped his level a little bit in the second and third sets. I was able to put Switzerland ahead so I am very happy. Roger Federer
Federer was involved in 2001 when the Swiss were last victorious but it was teenage version of the Maestro who was then in awe of his partner, the women’s world No.1 Martina Hingis.
“She (Hingis) had a great career and to have that in a small country like Switzerland is very rare,” Federer said after Switzerland’s latest triumph. “It made me also believe with hard work and dedication you get really far because I didn’t believe that much at that point when I was younger, I thought it was more all talent.”
On this occasion it was Federer who showed his partner the way as he recovered from the loss of the opening set in the first rubber of the three match tie.
Unbeaten in his three singles matches prior to the final as he prepared for his Australian Open title defence, the 19-time Grand Slam champion, suddenly found himself behind to the world No.4 Zverev but recovered to keep a clean winning record at Perth this year, dispatching his German counterpart 6-7(4) 6-0 6-2.
“I played great throughout the three sets and Sasha probably dropped his level a little bit in the second and third sets,” Federer said later. “I was able to put Switzerland ahead so I am very happy.
“I was trying to play as aggressively as possible. I’m maybe better when we’re closer together,
“The court plays fast, so it helps if you approach (the net) and do it the right way. It was working out well, so I thought I’d keep going until I had to fix it. That never happened, so I was able to cruise all the way through.”
Belinda Bencic had also arrived in the final round unbeaten and full of confidence but she came up against the former world No1 and two-time Aussie champion, who reached the same stage with a similar record. The week in Perth had certainly revived Kerber’s game as she had produced some excellent during the week and she was not to be derailed in the final overwhelming Bencic 6-4 6-1 to level the tie and force it into the deciding mixed doubles rubber.
Paying some exhilarating tennis, the two pairs locked horns but it was the Swiss who eventually triumphed 4-3(4) 4-2 to clinch the Hopman Cup.