The Hopman Cup is the Superbowl, the World Cup if you will, of mixed doubles tennis. Last year, Russia’s brother-sister tandem of Marat and Dinara Safina went down to sensational, humiliating defeat in the finals against a much lowlier team from Slovakia. It made a hat trick of championships for Slovakia in the event, which has been contested since 1988. The United States has won the tournament four of the past seven years. Russia has prevailed only once in its entire history.
The shame and disgrace for Russia at the Hopman continued last week as its Elena Dementieva (world rank #5) and Igor Andreev (world rank #35) went down to spectacular defeat at the hands of Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvevdova (world rank #51) and Andrei Golubev (world rank #133). The Kazakh team was the weakest in the group of eight nations contesting the title in round-robin play, and therefore seeded last in the draw. But the Russians could not handle them.
This meant that Russia fell to third place in its group and could only qualify for the finals by beating first-place Great Britain in its final tie and then seeing Kazakhstan lose. Neither happened, and Russia was sent packing.
Once again, Russia proved its “dominance” in the sport of tennis.