With a future anything but certain, the 2019 Hopman Cup tennis tournament in Perth might be making its curtain call.
Team tennis is falling from favour. Even the prestigious Davis Cup has taken measures to make it easier for players to participate. The bigger challenge is how to attract the interest on any other than the diehard tennis fans.
Ash Barty will be in attendance, representing for Australia, which is certainly commendable, but for the men, they had to be satisfied with the 39th ranked Matthew Ebden and since he lists Perth as his residence, it almost seems as though he felt compelled by convenience.
Australia will open the tournament with play against France, who will be sending Alize Cornet and Lucas Pouille. The three-match format for the first day features singles for Barty and Ebden, followed by doubles.
The lead-up to the Australian Open might be one of the few things holding the spot on the calendar for the Hopman Cup.
Germany is sending the top team, from the rankings perspective, with number two Angelique Kerber and number four Alexander Zverev. The Poms do not seem to want to be bothered, as they could find only Katie Boulter and Cameron Norrie, 99th and 91st, respectively. That might simply be a case of there being no English players of higher ranking, but Andy Murray could use the work, could he not?
The United States is sending Serena, provided she does not boycott due to hurt feelings over a caricature that depicted her in less-than-favourable light.
After Australia and France duke it out on the first day, spectators will have the chance to watch Germany vs Spain. Spain would be the true minnows, save for Great Britain showing up.
Switzerland is defending its 2018 Hopman Cup championship and seems to take it seriously; sending Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic, but there is no Rafael Nadal, no Novak Djokovic.