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Federer to play in Hopman Cup after 15 years

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Melbourne, July 21 (IANS) World No.3 Roger Federer, will return to the Australian city of Perth to play in the 2017 Hopman Cup tennis tournament for the first time in 15 years, it was announced on Thursday.

The 34-year-old Swiss tennis legend, who last competed at the Perth tournament in 2002 with wife Mirka, said the Hopman Cup would be the "perfect" way to start off his 2017 season, and lead into the Australian Open which begins on January 16, reports Xinhua.

"I do remember it was a good preparation ... so I thought it would be nice to do it again. I'm very happy it's happening ... and I can't wait to come back because I think it will be the perfect tournament for me to start the season with," Federer said in a video released by Hopman Cup organizers on Thursday.

The Hopman Cup is an Australian tournament that takes place in January where mixed-gender teams - one male player and one female - compete on a country-by-country basis.

Federer won the Perth competition in 2001 as a 19-year-old with fellow Swiss and champion women's player, Martina Hingis.

Now a 17-time Grand Slam winner, Federer said he was inspired to return to the tournament after watching it on television before the Australian Open earlier this year.

"I was watching on the television the Hopman Cup when Nick (Kyrgios) was playing and (Andy) Murray was playing and I just thought it would be cool to be a part of that," he said.

"On TV it looked great, the atmosphere was really nice and the stadium looked fantastic so I look forward to playing in that environment."

Perth's acting Premier and Tourism Minister, Liza Harvey, said it was great news for the state.

"We are thrilled that Roger Federer has chosen to start his 2017 season here in Perth," Harvey said at the launch of the Hopman Cup on Thursday.

"The Hopman Cup has welcomed some of the biggest names in tennis over its 28-year history, and the 2017 line-up is off to a terrific start with one of the greatest players of all time."

Federer will partner world No.16 and 19-year-old, Belinda Bencic.

The Hopman Cup is played from January 1-7.

--IANS

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