Who will win the 2017 Hopman Cup?October 11, 2016

Paul Kilderry, tournament director of the Hopman Cup, was excited about the confirmed field for 2017.

"Four top 20 players and nine top 40 players will be in Perth in January," he said.

The 29th edition of this mixed-gender event, to be held on January 1-7, would be a departure from early this year. Kilderry decided the 28th edition featured two Australian teams, as this season was Lleyton Hewitt's final year in the tour. But it was Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova who gave Australia's second title. And they would be back in Perth Arena.

"The men's field is very strong, coming up. For me, Perth is a great place to have it, especially before the Australian Open, the Aussie summer, its perfect conditions and I'm really looking forward to coming back," the current world No. 15, said.

Group A will include France (Richard Gasquet and Kristina Mladenovic), Germany (Alexander Zverev and Andrea Petkovic), Great Britain (Dan Evans and Heather Watson), and Switzerland (Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic). Australia, comprising Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova, will play Czech Republic (Adam Pavlasek and Petra Kvitova), Spain (Feliciano Lopez and Lara Arruabarrena), and the United States (Jack Sock and Coco Vandeweghe) on Group B. Let's assess the chances of each team:

Group A: Federer and Bencic are the favourites, but both players are coming back from injuries. It's been six long months since Federer's last appearance on court, so expect rustiness during his first match. And it might be the same case during his next one. Gasquet and Mladenovic have a good chance of reaching the finals, as both players have success in mixed doubles. (They have three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles between them.) As singles play is concerned, the French aces have a solid chance against the Britons and Germans. Petkovic and Zverev have dark-horse tags, and the match between Federer and Zverev, the past and future of tennis, will be anticipated by fans. Evans and Watson are capable of sending the tie to the decisive mixed doubles match.

Switzerland will reach its fourth finals if Federer and Bencic don't get injured (during the first month of the new season).

Group B: Feliciano Lopez's experience will likely be the only obstacle on Nick Kyrgios's path. (The Spaniard met the Australian on three occasions, with the former winning their only encounter on hard courts last year.) Kvitova has more victories than Arruabarrena, Gavrilova, and Coco Vandeweghe, which will make up for Pavlasek's lack of experience. It's the same case with Arruabarrena. The Americans look vulnerable on singles, which may put them in the last place.

Kyrgios cheekily sledged Novak Djokovic during the Davis Cup play-offs last month, and he had every reason to do it. Tantrum or lack of concentration will keep Australia from reaching the finals.

The Hopman Cup will likely be contested by Switzerland and Australia. The home crowd might be the factor. The match between Federer and Kyrgios will indicate the Canberran's chances of making a breakthrough next season. Switzerland will win its third title (2-1).

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