Aussie Gavrilova star-struck over playing Federer at Hopman Cup

PERTH: Daria Gavrilova is reduced to a giggling packet of nerves when she thinks about contesting the Hopman Cup starting on Sunday with tennis icon Roger Federer in the field. And the female half of the Australian team at the eight-nation mixed team event said on Wednesday she is making it Job 1 to at least get a selfie with the 17-time Grand Slam champion. Federer is back in Perth for the first time since 2002, arriving on Wednesday on a flight from his training base in Dubai along with wife Mirka and two sets of twins. Gavrilova will be ready and waiting to take her chances on catching a photo with the Swiss.

“When he says hello, I get all nervous. He’s still a big idol to me,”she admitted. “I still haven’t got a picture with him. So maybe I’ll get a chance this time.” Gavrilova, 21, and ranked 25th, is searching for a first WTA title — she played the Kremlin Cup final in October against Svetlana Kuznetsova — and is pairing with Mick Kyrgios as the team defend their title from 2016 at the Perth arena. Federer plays with compatriot Belinda Bencic with the side opening on Monday against Britain (Dan Evans, Heather Watson).  Australia begin on Sunday night with a New Year’s match against Lara Arruabarrena and Feliciano Lopez of Spain.  — DPA