The official Hopman Cup website has recently announced that Russia’s top-ranked WTA player Svetlana Kuznetsova, the current world number 12, has officially withdrawn from the 2018 Hopman Cup exhibition tournament and will be replaced by world number 15 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The male player of the Russian team remains unchanged, and Karen Khachanov will now partner Pavlyuchenkova in trying to bring glory to their country.
Left wrist injury continues to bother Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova has been plagued with a left wrist injury since the US Open this year, which then effectively ended her chances to qualify for the WTA Finals and causing her to end her season relatively earlier than usual.
The Russian has also recently announced on Instagram that she had undergone a small surgery on her left wrist, and the surgery went very well and should completely recover in a couple of weeks. It was the first time in her lengthy career that she injured her left wrist, which seemed to be seriously inflicted as she was unable to use her two-handed backhand at all.
The injury also caused Kuznetsova to fall in the second round of the US Open to Kurumi Nara and opening-round exits at the Wuhan Open and the China Open. The Russian originally knew that she was unable to play her best tennis, but still wanted to give it a try as she did not want to disappoint the fans. However, she then withdrew from the Kremlin Cup, where she was the defending champion, and the WTA Elite Trophy to prevent aggravating the injury,
Pavlyuchenkova to replace Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova then announced her withdrawal from the Hopman Cup, stating that she “had a procedure on my left wrist and have withdrawn from the Mastercard Hopman Cup as a precaution.” Nonetheless, she still provided her fans with some good news, claiming that “I am recovering very well and I should be completely ok. I hope to be ready to go for the rest of the Australian summer.” Furthermore, Kuznetsova has also expressed her support for the Russian team in Perth, “I’ll be watching the Hopman Cup on TV and will be cheering Anastasia and Karen on when they take to the court in Perth.”
Pavlyuchenkova, the second highest-ranked Russian player on the tour, will make her debut at the tournament. “I am very happy to have the opportunity to play my first Mastercard Hopman Cup, I’ve heard great things about the tournament and I’ve always wanted to play. I look forward to teaming up with Karen and playing for our fans in Perth,” Pavlyuchenkova mentioned on the Hopman Cup website. The Russian will be facing Coco Vandeweghe, Belinda Bencic and Naomi Osaka in the group stages here in Perth.