'Majors will be the priority'

The former number one is to team up with French Open semifinalist Samantha Stosur as the host nation bids for only its second title at the eight-nation team event.

Australia, the top seeds, begin on the opening day at the Burswood Dome against Romania, comprising Victor Hanescu and teenage talent Sorana Cirstea, ranked 45th on the WTA.

Hewitt, now based in the Bahamas, has spent the southern summer holiday season training on the east coast with good mate and new coach Nathan Healey, a former rival early in his career. Healey and Hewitt teamed up earlier in 2009 after Hewitt parted company with longtime mentor Tony Roche.

“The Australian summer is obviously the main priority, trying to get ready for the Hopman Cup and then obviously Sydney leading into the Australian Open in Melbourne,” Hewitt said on his website.

“That’s where we want to get the damage done. I’d love to get back into the top five as soon as possible. Obviously, the four majors for us is the priority.”

Stosur is coming off a record-setting 2009, winner her first singles title in the autumn in Japan after reaching a career-first singles semifinal at Roland Garros.

She defeated the 19-year-old Cirstea twice in 2009 in straight-set victories.
Andy Murray is scheduled to be the headline act at this year’s edition as he makes his debut at the event along with Laura Robson, junior Wimbledon finalist six months ago after winning that event in 2008.

Robson grew up in Australia but has resisted enticements to switch nationality.
Murray, fourth in the world, is hoping that past years of Hopman Cup good luck might rub off on him.

Australian Open winners Marat Safin (2005) and Novak Djokovkic (2008) both played the teams event in Perth only weeks before claiming their Grand Slam titles.

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