Hopman CupRoger Federer

Team Switzerland Defeat Germany To Defend Hopman Cup Title

Benderer sealed the title with a nervy mixed doubles victory

A successful Hopman Cup defence for Team Benderer in Perth as the duo defeated Sascha Zverev and Angelique Kerber 2-1 to lift the trophy.

The day started in eye-catching fashion for the Swiss as Roger Federer comprehensively defeated Zverev 6-4 6-2 in a clincal display. However, ze Germans hit back instantly with the impressive Kerber seeing off Bencic in straight sets.

That meant a live Mixed Fast4 doubles and it went down to the wire. The teams traded the opening sets 4-0 and 4-1 respectively but the third went all the way; eventually being decided by a 5 point tie-break which the Swiss won 5-4, partly helped by the format giving Roger 3 serves at 3 points all ๐Ÿ˜€

Quick Match Recap

Fed Zverev Hopman

Zverev won the toss and elected to receive. A love hold put Roger on the board before Zverev levelled to 15.

Another love hold saw Roger move 2-1 up and his serve was instantly finding the spots meaning he was able to roll through his first few service games.

The German too was looking untroubled early but as the set wore on Roger started to make inroads on the return, making deuce in game six and creating his first break point in game 8 before Zverev levelled for 4-4.

A hold to fifteen then put the Swiss up 5-4 and he made his move in game ten, firing a great return to set up two break points and converting with a backhand pass down the line.

Into set two and Roger held for 1-0 after being pegged back to deuce twice in the game. Two well-hustled points then saw him move up 0-30 and he was able to break to fifteen to put himself up 2-0.

Another hold to fifteen consolidated the break and from there he maintained momentum to breeze through the set, holding to love for 4-1, maintained his focus at 30 all en route to holding for 5-2 and then broke for the second time to take the set 6-2.

Match Stats

  Alexander Zverev Roger Federer
Aces 9 9
Double Faults 4 1
1st Serve Percentage 67% 67%
1st Serve Points Won 60% (25/42) 91% (30/33)
2nd Serve Points Won 48% (10/21) 56% (9/16)
Break Points Saved 40% (2/5) 0% (0/0)
1st Return Points Won 9% (3/33) 40% (17/42)
2nd Return Points Won 38% (6/16) 33% (7/21)
Break Points Converted 0% (0/0) 60% (3/5)
Winners 21 24
Unforced Errors 23 16
Net Points Won 56% (9/16) 76% (25/33)
Total Points Won 40% (45/112) 60% (67/112)

Highlights

Post Match Interview

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Zverev Hopman

Yeah, I'm happy I was able to maintain the good high-quality tennis I showed all week. It's good to finish with a singles performance like this. You adjust your game on your opponents and Sascha's obviously a completely different player to what I've had this week. I'm very happy how I've been playing here this week.

A great singles match from Roger here as he completely outplayed Zverev who seemed to struggle with the pace Fed was playing at.

From the word go Roger's serve was firing and in the fast conditions, he was able to play first strike tennis that left Zverev looking rushed from the baseline. Zverev is a big hitter but he needs rhythm and time to do his work and Roger didn't allow him to really establish himself in any of the rallies.

Couple that with the Swiss moving sharply and making Zverev play one more ball the few times he was on the defensive it was a peRFect recipe for success.

Federer moving well + quick conditions = hard to stop even at 37.

So a great week for Fed in singles, 6 straight sets won, not broken and he's looked very fresh. The day off clearly helps with the recovery + movement and he heads into the Australian Open with a solid preparation to try and defend his title. 

Closing Thoughts on the 2019 (and possibly last ever) Hopman Cup

Benderer 2019

As for the other matches today, they were fun as ever.  Kerber is very athletic and does a great job of soaking up the pace and redirecting the ball. She was far too solid for Belinda who has a fairly weak serve and forehand. 

The Fast 4 doubles had some great points too and it boiled down to basically one point to decide it. It's quite interesting to have a double match point where both teams can win as you can see below. We also got to see some super slick volleying from Fed and some dodgy volleying from Bencic but it all sorted itself out in the end and the right team won ๐Ÿ™‚

Finally, it looks like it's going to the last Hopman Cup ever. A shame as it's a very well-run event with a cool venue. I like the coverage, format and how they run their social media accounts as it's very accessible for fans globally who aren't able to watch courtside.

Should it stay? It has obviously done very well the last 3 years due to the Federer effect which makes it harder to measure its true popularity. For instance how many Fed fans can say they watched it or attended it in 2015/16? Not many ๐Ÿ˜€ 

But personally, I'd like to see it stick around as I think it's a chilled out and different way to start the season. No points at stake so it's relaxed but players still want to win so I think it's an important event ahead of the Australian Open. I like it for the same reasons I like the Laver Cup.

What did you guys think of the final and the tournament as a whole? Let me know in the comments.

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Federer and tennis in general.

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59 Comments

  1. Yeaaahh!!!
    Congrats to Swiss and to all Fed fans here
    Benderer did it again!!

    Thanks Jon for covering Hopman Cup, and thanks for this early post (too tired to skip scrolling for so many nโ€™importe quoi on previous post)

    Good confident boost for AO
    Allez!

  2. Fast4Jon – very quick turnaround :-). Roger did most of the workload, should serve him well for AO defense. Got to be on form with his serves, volleys and movement. He had different type of opponents lefty, counterpuncher, nextgen and some doubles practice. Its a pity this will be the last Hopman Cup, well at least Suisse team won the last edition. I have been watch them for many years but more vested in past 3 years due to Roger. Have a good rest Roger, hope for a decent draw.

    1. Ah cool, one of the few I suspect. I can’t recall watching it much before Fed played, think maybe the time Murray played but dunno what I actually watched.

  3. What a fantastic point to end the match on.It seems a shame that this is the last time as it seems excellent preparation for
    the AO.Different opponents and styles of play without the pressure of ranking points.
    From Jonathans report and reading elsewhere Fed played really well and should go into the slam with renewed confidence.
    It would seem that of the younger players Stephanos may well make a slam final before Sacha.The latters weakness at the
    net is a glaring hole in his game.It was typical that the match point ended on his mistake.
    Nice to see Fed moving and serving so well and cutting down those pesky unforced errors.?

    1. You don’t really need to volley well to win slams. Djokovic is not that competent a volleyer. Stan has good and bad days. Nadal volleys well but rarely plays anything other than the comfortably putaways.

      I think Zverev improved a bit at net too, he didn’t make too many mistakes today. Match point wasn’t much he could do.

    2. “What a fantastic point to end the match on. It seems a shame that this is the last time as it seems excellent preparation for the AO. Different opponents and styles of play without the pressure of ranking points.”

      I totally agree. When Murray used to play it I had the impression it was more of an obligation to GB to field a team, so it’s only really been since Roger started playing it that I’ve paid much attention, but very sensible to play something where you can’t get knocked out after one match and not get any AO prep if you’re a sluggish starter.

  4. First win of the year for me and Roger! Well, he broke another record, 3 wins in Perth. Perhaps his level of play even surprised him? He truly loves Australia. All the best for the AO. The field will be shaking in their boots.

  5. Super Bowl , World Series, World Cup all these sports don’t give me the thrill that seeing Roger win does. When Roger does eventually retire I have booked a therapy session with a psychiatrist and probably need him or her for a whole year to get over the depression. Thank Jonathan for this great website and his analysis is very informative. Tennis has always been my favorite sport to watch and play and having this website has also been enjoyable to read. Roger looked amazing this week and he never stops amazing me at his talent and skill. Not just the GOAT but also the GOAT of all sports. Class act number one.

  6. If Fed’s in it, I’m watching it.
    Watched 17,18& 19 – of course!! Whaddya think? As did most Fedfans. Anyone think all those flags are Swiss folk? Of course not.
    Loved it & sorry to see it end this way as I love the format and its been wonderful prep for Fed for AO but like any other tourney depends who else besides Fed is playing for it to hold interest.
    Tsitsi made a big difference for me this year, but Sascha doesnt quite do it yet for me.

      1. https://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/you-want-to-be-federer-but-admit-it-you-re-more-like-kyrgios-20190105-p50pq3.html

        From this excellent article above, what you write about the fandom Roger arouses in the world is confirmed below ๐Ÿ™‚ :ย 

        “Iย wantย to be Roger Federer. I really do. I want to go about my business with a smile on my face, breezing through life with a backhand that should be framed and hung in place of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, barely raising a sweat, kissing babies, taking selfies at the net with Serena, being loved universally and, probably, intergalatically”.

      2. Nice article, thanks FBRF. Yes, aren’t we grateful? To have seen, and still possibly watching such a hero on court. And he knows about Kyrgios’ syndrome. He had his difficulties, and maybe still secretly have some, but he knows how to handle it, and to overcome with joy. Inspiring! Hopefully Kyrgios can learn similar some day. And then we may have one more inspiring hero around.
        Thanks Jonathan for covering Hopman so nicely and giving us awesome highlights.

      3. That’s a weird article tbh. Comparing Fed to NK and NK to himself. I don’t really get it.

        I don’t like the word hero either. No tennis player is a hero.

  7. I enjoyed the Hopman Cup, great atmosphere so good to see players
    enjoying tennis before the grind of the tennis season. Thought Fed
    played so well against Sascha, felt sorry for Kerber in the doubles as
    Sascha wanted to play every point.

    1. I thought that too about Sascha. In fact I thought that could have been part of the problem on match point; I didnโ€™t think he was in a very good spot to play it. Clever placement really, between the two players, accidental,or not.

      1. I watched the entire Final yesterday as Eurosport covered it. Great match from Fed, so much different from last year how he dominated on serve an how sharp he was at most of the big points.
        Regarding the mixed doubles I had a deja-vu as A.Zverev’s ego and disrespect of Kerber blowed this decider very similar to last year. You could hear his constantly given commands even on TV (approx. 80% of the time “ICH” (=me) and 20% DU (=you)). Must have been very annoying for A. Kerber how much he interfered in her business both at the baseline and at the net or in between).
        Benderer clearly took advantage of this as they placed most of their volleys between Kerber/Zverev. Even the Eurosport commentators mentioned this.

  8. @Jonathan,
    Well Fed volleys and he wins slams!No the point I was trying to make is that if you have a weakness other players will take
    advantage of it.This is perhaps why the Stephanos match was much closer,he is effective at the net,Sacha isn’t yet,perhaps never will be.

    1. But in the age of baseline tennis on slow surfaces, not being able to volley isn’t really a big problem. Djoker is relatively a poor volleyer and it hasn’t really hindered him…

  9. Yess! Awesome is the right word! Roger was superb. Belinda not on her best today but it was so exciting to watch the game. Roger enjoying himself every game.
    Great way to start the year!

  10. I absolutely love the Hopman Cup and Fed always seems to be so relaxed there. We’ve just watched the doubles again and Belinda played well (I thought) in the first and third set, and in the final tie-break. Is this the best Fed has played since Stuttgart?
    Gives us hope for the AO and beyond if he can play at this level, really wonderful. His anticipation at the net is beyond anything.

  11. Enjoyabkle and amazing. Sascha is a very strong player, but maybe his judging has room for improvement. Roger was just great, made the true artistic performance come through. Fun and joy. Belinda is charming supply in mixd. Hopefully Hopman finds a way to continue this very nice tennis celebration.

  12. It was pure joy to see Fed playing so well this week.
    I’ve watched Hopman Cup for several years now. I enjoy the mix of men’s and women’s singles and then mixed doubles. Although Roger playing these last 3 years made it even more special, I remember watching matches in the past with players I didn’t even know very well. I think it is such a shame that this is probably the last year. So many of the tourneys seem so similar, with even the same players winning (at least on the ATP side) that it was fun to see something different.

  13. Excellent final. Roger played better than I have seen him do for some time, and against a top-class opponent. The first part of the first set against Zverev was a serving competition, and I feared Roger would struggle to make inroads against the German’s powerful baseline game. But towards the end of that set Roger lifted his game and closed it out well.

    In the second set he did well to hold from love-30 in his opening game and then his unrelenting pressure caused Zverev to
    unravel mentally. An ‘A’ performance from our man. What would have made it ‘A’-plus – and I’m being picky here – is if he had hit over his return on the Zverev’s second serve on his first match-point instead of chipping it (badly) to lose the point. It was a nervous response; he corrected it on the deuce-point. The 2017 ‘neo-backhand’ is his better shot, I believe, off an opponent’s nervy second delivery. It put paid to Nadal in 2017.

    Bencic was a bit unlucky in her singles. I don’t like Kerber’s game. A glorified pusher with a weak serve – she failed to serve the match out twice in a row. But her win set the tie up for the mixed doubles.

    I enjoyed the doubles; some terrific net play and Roger was frequently outstanding. Of course. His variety puts him at another level. The awards ceremony was fun, too; everyone spoke well. It amused me when Bencic said Roger “talked so much!” during the doubs. The epitome of a thinking and strategic player! It was a tie played in a great spirit and reminded me of the Laver Cup in that regard, as Jonathan pointed out. The AO now awaits.

    1. Kerber is very athletic, but I’m surprised the ball goes in a lot of the time when it leaves her racquet. Not nice to watch really. And her serve is deserves the treatment it gets from a lot of players.

  14. When watching how Fed played all week long, I remember why I chose my pseudo when I started to write on this peRFect blog two years ago, just when Fed won the AO2017 : “ButteRFly”.ย 

    This week, Fed made me think of a ButteRFly, present in every part of the court…

    With the show we witnessed from him, we have been offered a late Xmas present.ย  Thank you Maestro…

    Jonathan : do you remember when was the last time you gave 5-star ratings to RF for ALL 5 criteria at the end of your posts ? ๐Ÿ™‚ … Awesome, indeed.

    I loved the Hopman cup format, for the same reason I love the Laver Cup too… Team interactions are great and fun. Maybe Roger and Belinda could play the mixed doubles at the Tokyo Olympics next year ?

    1. Hm not sure tbh. Nishikori match maybe?

      The score I provide in the backend is actually out of 100, but displays as 5 stars. All these five are in the 90’s.

  15. Such a pleasing, comprehensive victory over Sascha, and such an exciting finish in the mixed! I will miss the Hopman Cup! Sascha has improved at the net, but is still not as good as Stefanos. It’ll be interesting to see who wins a slam first (and of course, who ends up with more). Roger’s had a great time, what with the good wins and the lobsters and the family. It was lovely seeing him play fast and free, and sometimes even smile during matches.

      1. There was a photo of him holding a giant lobster, and some courtside banter about this one being the last-year-lobster’s sister, I think! PR stuff, probably, but came across very well. Federer always looks so eager and warm and enthusiastic during these activities, I enjoy his social media outreach very much!

  16. I like the way Rog has played this Hopman cup. His plays closer to the baseline rather than hitting big topspin that lands close to the service line. Everything seems so measured and balanced. Really interesting to watch.

  17. A bit late to join the party but “Awesome”, indeed! Totally agree with your last paragraph, Jonathan. Ultimate fun tennis, Hopman Cup is ๐Ÿ˜€

  18. Encouraging signs from Hopman Cup as he was able to step in court, take the ball early and flatten it out on the backhand like he did in 2017. If the courts in Melbourne are moderately quick, as they’ve been the last couple years, he may be able to do well again.

    The real challenge will be whether he can keep up this level of tennis all season long. In 2017 he sustained this confidence and aggression through Wimbledon, but lost it when he tweaked his back during the USO run. He did manage to get back in form for Shanghai–the final against Nadal was a masterclass of attacking tennis, and he hit his backhand magnificently–but that didn’t last.

    Beating a young hotshot like Zverev is always a good sign for Federer. Zverev can’t do anything if Federer takes his time away, he needs time to wind up for his groundstrokes. To me he always looks a bit like a man swinging an oar around. And I don’t particularly care for his game or attitude, although I acknowledge his talent. He doesn’t seem to fear the big names, either–what he lacks is the endurance and conditioning to perform well in Grand Slam tennis.

    Hopman Cup seems to agree with him. I think he prefers to warm up for AO by playing this friendly, almost exhibition-type tournament rather than the higher-pressure setting of an official ATP tournament.. He expends less mental energy and is able to stay relaxed and refreshed. The team competition and the Davis Cup-like atmosphere also help energize him, I think. It’s more fun to play with a teammate.

    The older he gets the more important it is for him to stay relaxed and feel comfortable on tour. Unfortunately, this may be the last Hopman Cup ever, so he may have to figure out another way to prep for AO next year.

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