Originally Posted by mojo37_12
First of all, an exhibition during the start of the year tends to be more than just a "mere exhibition." Plus, the Hopman Cup is not just any other exhibition tournament because it comes before the Aussie Open and the players play for their country which provides extra incentive to do well.
In fact, in my opinion watching the players play in mere exhibitions with this setup is a good way of seeing a player's skill and drive. If you can't play well for your country... chances are you probably won't do well in lesser situations (in this case other smaller tournaments.)
I don't think anyone takes the Hopman Cup too seriously. I mean, the real battle of the nations is obviously the Davis Cup. Maybe the Düsseldorf so-called "world cup" deserves a honorable mention, although its prestige is considerably lower. Hopman Cup is an interesting concept and an entertaining exhibition, but that's all it is.
Let me give you a quick example. Remember last year Safin's disastrous performance at this same exhibition? He played horribly. A few weeks later he was winning the Australian Open. Bottomline is, in no way can we mix exhibitions with real competitive tournaments. The player's motivations are completely different in each case.