Switzerland Hopman Cup team preview: Federer and Bencic look to start 2017 positively

Switzerland is set to make their first Hopman Cup appearance in 10+ years, and they’re led by some star power. Roger Federer is set to make his first appearance since 2002, and he’ll be joined by Belinda Bencic as they look to bring Switzerland their first Hopman Cup title since 2001.

Switzerland’s Hopman Cup History

This will be Switzerland’s 10th appearance at the Hopman Cup. They have two titles with their first coming in their second appearance in 1992. Their most recent title starred both Martina Hingis and a young Roger Federer. The two former world number ones went a perfect 4-0 en route to defeating the United States. Switzerland only lost two matches with the current Swiss number two losing the only singles match to Wayne Ferreira of South Africa. The second match they lost was their mixed doubles match to Monica Seles and Jan-Michael Gambill of the United States in the final, but they had already clinched the title by then.

Federer and Hingis lift their Hopman Cup title in 2001 (Eurosport.com)

Switzerland’s last appearance was the year after their title and their fortunes weren’t as good. Federer was partnered with Miroslava Vavrinec, more popularly known as his wife Mirka Federer. Switzerland lost twice as they were eliminated in the round-robin stage.

The Comeback Kids

Both Bencic and Federer are looking to kick off their 2017 on positive notes after a difficult 2016. Federer’s season started on a bright note with a runner-up appearance at the Brisbane International and then a semifinals appearance at the Australian Open. However, a freak accident while giving his children a bath hurt the 17-time Grand Slam champion as he tore his meniscus.

He would comeback in time for the clay court season but performed poorly in all three of the leadup tournaments to the French with his best showing coming in Monte-Carlo where he lost in the quarterfinals to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. After a subpar grass court leadup, Federer found his footing at his most successful Grand Slam, Wimbledon. The seven-time Wimbledon champ was unscathed through his first four rounds but ran into some trouble in the quarterfinals against Marin Cilic. He came back from two sets to love down before completing a stunning comeback. In his semifinal against Milos Raonic, Federer looked to be in control but a stumble during the match shifted the momentum towards the Canadian who took the match in five sets.

Federer bowed out of Wimbledon in the semifinals, his last tournament of the 2016 season (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Federer announced that he would miss the rest of the season in order to recover from his knee injury, falling out of the top 10 for the first time since 2002.

Meanwhile, Bencic had to deal with not just injuries but an up and down season as well. After winning her first Premier 5 title as well as making four finals, the Swiss number two could not handle the pressure. After making the fourth round of the Australian Open, Bencic continued her strong tennis with a finals showing at St. Petersburg. Injuries hampered her season as a back injury forced her out of the clay season and a thigh plus wrist injury kept her out of Wimbledon and the Olympics. She finished her season only winning one match in her final few tournaments.