For hordes of sports-mad Aussies, summer hasn't truly begun until the tennis hits our screens each year and it all kicks off tomorrow on Ten with the 25th annual Hopman Cup, live from Perth.
While the tennis season hits fever pitch with the Australian Open next month (on Seven and 7Two), the Hopman Cup is like the fun younger sister of the grand-slam event.
Ten is airing both day and night sessions between tomorrow and the final on January 5, beginning at 10.30am tomorrow.
Taking place at the swish new Perth Arena for the first time, an addition to the Hopman Cup this year will be Cottesloe-based former tennis champion turned commentator Alicia Molik.
After cutting her teeth commentating for Seven and Fox Sports at Wimbledon and the US Open, Molik says she is thrilled at being asked to be part of the team alongside Mark Howard, Darren Cahill, Fred Stolle and Tim Gossage.
"I can't wait. I played it so many years when it was at Burswood, I've never worked at the event in any other capacity," she gushes over the phone from the Cottesloe home she shares with husband Tim Sullivan and their 11-month-old son, Yannik.
"To commentate at home now, it's a privilege."
Commentating was a natural progression for the former world number six player after she retired from the professional circuit in 2010. "If I wasn't commentating on events, I'd be waking up at all sorts of hours in the middle of the night to watch the tennis anyway. I do love it so it makes sense to be there and watching it live," she says.
Being the first international tennis meeting following the off-season, the Hopman Cup always attracts a respectable line-up of players. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will join a star-studded line-up, including Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Ana Ivanovic and Venus Williams.
Hometown hopes will rest on the shoulders of tennis bad boy Bernard Tomic and teen sensation Ashleigh Barty, who replaced Perth's Casey Dellacqua after her foot injury last month.
Also commencing at the weekend is the first of the key lead-up events on the road to the Australian Open - the Brisbane International, which will air live and uninterrupted on 7TWO from Sunday at 9.30am.
The Apia International (January 6-12) and the Kooyong Classic (January 9-12) will also air on 7TWO.
Then the first grand slam of 2013, the Australian Open, will be served up on Seven from January 14 live from Melbourne Park.
Sunrise sport correspondent Mark Beretta has joined the coverage team for the first time and for the tennis fanatic, it's the gig of a lifetime.
"I am seriously over the moon," he says.
"This is really big for me. All my life I've watched tennis, my mum was a mad tennis player and nut when the tennis came on the TV, so to finally be part of the team is just awesome.
"It's one of those events. It's like the Melbourne Cup, it's just built momentum that no one can stop now. It's such a part of people's calendar. Every year, every day, every session is a record crowd."
Beretta will host the morning session, which will begin at 8am on Seven in Perth on the first day of play.
Other new faces joining Beretta include Miss Universe Australia 2011, Perth's Scherri-Lee Biggs, and former Olympic swimming champion Giaan Rooney, who will report on all the action from out and about at Melbourne Park.
The team will be led once again by Bruce McAvaney, as well as former world number one and four-time grand-slam winner Jim Courier and Australian tennis legends Lleyton Hewitt and John Newcombe.
Seven Perth sports guru Basil Zempilas will host the afternoon and evening coverage.
"We've got big, bad Basil Zempilas flying in to join the team which will be great. It's great to see a Perth legend moving up the ranks over here," Beretta says.
Last year's winners, Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka, as well as major players such as Roger Federer and Serena Williams, will return to the court to compete in the 2013 grand slam. However, it's Australian Sam Stosur Beretta is most looking forward to seeing in action.
"We've supported her through Sunrise for years and years and years before she really became a big name and started winning titles," he explains.
"She didn't have a sponsor and we first sponsored her through Sunrise, so she's like family to me."
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