The Hopman Cup, also known simply as the Championships, is held every year in Perth, Western Australia during early January and sometimes beginning in late December. The competition pits mixed-gender teams from different countries against each other and is named in honour of Harry Hopman (1906 – 1985). Hopman was a highly respected Australian tennis player and coach who guided his country to 15 Davis Cup wins between 1938 and 1969.
History and Background
The Hopman Cup was founded in 1989, and has been managed by some key figures in Australian tennis over the years. The Cup is a sanctioned event in the International Tennis Federation’s calendar, but individual player results are not used to calculate the rankings of this team competition. Up to and including 2012, the Hopman Cup was played in the Burswood Dome at the Entertainment Complex of the same name, and was then relocated to the newly-refurbished Perth Arena.
The Cup made history in its 2005/06 edition, as the world’s first elite-level tennis competition to allow players to challenge point-ending line calls. The system that was introduced reviews challenged calls on a large monitor using Hawk-Eye technology.
Harry Hopman was a national Australian hero, and his memory is honoured in the Hopman Cup in a variety of ways. First of all, most Australians make time to attend or watch the games, and the events receive extensive television time. The winning team is presented with a silver cup perpetual trophy and individual members are given intricate, diamond-encrusted individual trophies that are very valuable and give an indication of how much Hopman is revered.
All over the world, players are invited to attend the Hopman Cup, but their national coaches are not involved in selecting the teams. They are put together in mixed-gender sides to represent their respective countries. The organisers of the Championships select 8 nations to compete, with the final 8th spot sometimes decided with playoffs between several countries before the Hopman competition begins.
Each team is a mixed-doubles pair, consisting of a male and a female player. If a player is injured a lower-ranking athlete from the same nation may substitute for them. The match-up between 2 teams consists of a men’s singles game, a women’s singles game, and a mixed doubles game. The 8 competing teams are split into 2 groups of 4 teams, with 2 teams in each group being seeded to ensure each pool has approximately equivalent strength. Each team faces off against its group competitors in a round robin structure. At the end of these round robin games, the top teams in each group face each other in the Championships final.
A Living Legacy and Memory
Harry Hopman raised Australian tennis to new heights, and the Hopman Cup is a fitting tribute to what he accomplished and made possible for the players who came after him. It is appreciated by players and spectators in Australia and around the world, as well as Hopman’s family. Since the 1989 inaugural game, Hopman’s second wife Lucy has made the trip to Australia from her home in the United States every year to watch excellence in tennis being displayed in her husband’s honour.