10/9/12 2:57 PM | Johan Lindahl
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has been signed to join Novak Djokovic in the field at the Hopman Cup starting December 29, with the relaunched event now boasting two Top 10 players in the field at the eight-team mixed tournament.
Djokovic beat Tsonga for the title in Beijing last weekend, with the pair also competing this week in Shanghai. But the past will be forgotten when the 2013 season starts at the re-organized event in Perth, the Western Australia capital.
Tsonga, the 2008 Australian Open runner-up, will be playing for the first time in the geographically isolated city, teaming with Mathilde Johansson for France. Djokovic is onside with former world No. 1 teammate Ana Ivanovic. The Americans will feature Venus Williams and John Isner as the tournament begins its 25th edition.
Tsonga, ranked sixth, owns titles in this season from Doha and Metz. "It's really good because I will arrive really early to Australia able to play three (round-robin) matches to prepare for the Australian Open," said the 27-year-old. "I heard that they built a new arena similar to Rod Laver Arena (new stadium with a moveable roof), so it's going to be just perfect for me to play, it's going to be fun."
Tsonga will be playing mixed doubles for the first time in his career during the Perth week.
Also in the field is the Spanish team from 2012, Fernando Verdasco and Anabel Medina Garrigues, who came close to reaching the final last January. "This year I want to go to the beach and try to enjoy the city more. I've heard it's a new big stadium and it's going to be unbelievable so I'm really looking forward to coming back."
Djokovic, the world No. 2, has made Perth a regular stop on the way to Melbourne, competing in three of the last five editions. "I love the competition there; I love the atmosphere," said the former No.1 and three-time Australian Open champion. "I've reached the finals on two previous occasions so I sincerely hope that now this time, with Ana, we can actually win a trophy."
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