Hopman Cup 2015: Perth’s Casey Dellacqua eyeballs top 20

For Casey Dellacqua, 2015 is about finding consistency and pushing for her first career singles tournament victory.

The 29-year-old West Australian is going to find it difficult to move through the ranking of women’s tennis though, but she hasn’t conceded trying for a spot in the top 20 or better.

She had a bumper 2014, pushing through from number 210 in the world to her current position at 29, on the back of consistent performances.

However, it means she will be defending a lot of points that she earned throughout the year.

But that hasn’t stopped her from setting her sights on some lofty goals in 2015, which kicks off on January 4 with the Hopman Cup in Perth, where she will team up with Nick Kyrgios.

“I would love to be a player ranked inside the top 10,” she said from the Perth Arena on Tuesday.

“There is certainly certain goals that I have for 2015 that I would like to achieve.

“I think 2015 is one of those years where I am going defend a lot of points that I did this year. So, if I can stay top 30 I feel like that is a great achievement too because you have to consistently be there at the top and that is kind of what I am aiming for – to not waiver too much and kind of keep the level and keep improving that from here on in.”

For that improvement to come, Dellacqua us going to need to consistently get through early rounds of tournament and then beat those ranked higher than her at the pointy end.

She is going to get an early glimpse of how well those players in front of her are prepared for 2015 when she takes to the court at the Hopman Cup.

Six of her seven potential opponents in the mixed teams event are ranked in the top 20, with Serena Williams of the USA (one), Agnieszka Radwanska (six) of Poland and Eugenie Bouchard (seven) from Canada all currently in the top 10.

Dellacqua is guaranteed games against France’s Alize Cornet (ranked 19), Radwanska and Great Britain’s Heather Watson (49) during the round-robin stages.

On the other side of the draw is Williams, Bouchard, Italy’s world number 12 Flavia Pennetta and Lucie Safarova (ranked 16) of the Czech Republic.

While the Australian knows the draw is a tough one for her, she said she is feeling good and ready to start the new year on a positive note.

“None of these matches are going to be easy and starting off against Agnieszka (Radwanska) who is number five (six) in the world for 2015 is a good way for me to start,” she said.

“I guess to kick-start the year off playing someone top 10 and that is going to be a really tough task for me but I have done what I can up to this point and I just have to go out there and know that I have done the work.

“Everyone is kind of in the same boat with the first matches of the year, it’s a bit of an unknown.

“I think our sport is just so demanding. Week in, week out it’s just so tough, and I think the experience comes into it.

“As you get older, you learn to manager your body better, you learn to manage tournament schedules. The older players just know how to manage all that a lot better.

“A lot of girls are playing their best tennis when they hit 30. And for me, I think that’s probably the case as well.”

If she can fair well in those singles matches, Australia stands a chance of winning the Hopman Cup for just the second time – with Mark Philippoussis and Jelena Dokic claiming victory in 1999.

The men’s draw has opened up slightly with the withdrawal of 2014 winner Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (ranked 12 in the world) from France.

Czech Radek Stepanek (ranked 68) and American Jack Sock (42) have also been scratched from the field.

Benoit Paire (118), Adam Pavlasek (240) and John Isner (19) have been confirmed as their respective replacements.

Dellacqua rates Australia’s chances of claiming the trophy really high.

“Nick has had a great year too, he’s been in great form and I’m really looking forward to playing with him and I know we both like playing on the doubles court so if it comes to the mixed it will be exciting to be out there with him,” she said.

“I will be doing my part in the singles as best I can and give what I have and I know he’ll be doing the same.”  Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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