Perth:American superstar Serena Williams will headline the Hopman Cup later this year.
In a major coup for the unique mixed teams event, it was announced on Tuesday that the eight-time Grand Slam champion would represent the second-seeded United States in the eight-nation tournament.
Williams, currently ranked fifth in the world, will be partnered by 40th-ranked Mardy Fish in the event, which runs from December 29-January 4.
At her only previous appearance in Perth, in 2003, Williams teamed with James Blake to win the Hopman Cup and went on to win the Australian Open a few weeks later.
Tournament director Paul McNamee was delighted with securing Williams to cap one of the strongest Hopman Cup fields for many years.
"Serena is the icing on the cake," McNamee said. "She is back to six in the world, she won the Australian Open earlier this year, she is back to defend the Australian Open and she has won this tournament before.
"It shows she is damn serious about defending the Australian Open and is a great fillip for this tournament."
Williams said she was desperate to get here hands on another of the unique diamond-encrusted tennis balls presented to the winners, having given hers to her mother.
"I gave the winning ball to my mum, so I am determined to get another one," she said. "Mardy is a good player and I think we'll be solid. Mardy plays a lot of doubles and we get along great, so we'll be fine."
Securing Williams means the eight-nation field is all but finalised, with one place left for the winner of the Asian Hopman Cup, featuring Thailand, Japan, Taipei, Korea, Uzbekistan and China and held in Thailand in November.