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Fed Cup Intrigue 04/28/2009 - 1:00 PM

Fedcup by Pete Bodo

Howdy. Rosangel and Ed have us pretty well covered this morning, as they do on most Mondays. But I wanted to drop by and tip my hat to y'all. I just wrote a post for ESPN on the weekend's Fed Cup action, with a focus on - what else? - doubles.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Liezel Huber fought off a match-point at 2-6, 2-5, 30-40 in the second set, and went on with the match and clinch a place in the Fed Cup final, which Italy will host in early November.

It's hard to imagine that the Italians would choose anything but clay for the final; the only time in years that they've gone with a different surface was in 2008, when Italy chose an indoor hard court on which to play Spain.The choice backfired, with Spain winning, 3-2. And choosing hard courts over clay for a tie vs. the USA would roughly be like opting to play Bobby Fischer at chess rather than bingo. And lest you think I'm assigning too much heft to USA singles players Alexa Glatch and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, remember that the US may field a team for the finals featuring Venus and Serena Williams. How do you say "nightmare" in Italian?

Of course, this raises and interesting question - having come this far with a team that appears to be emulating the USA's MIracle on Ice hockey team of 1980, should Fed Cup captain Mary Jo Fernandez even think about recruiting Venus and Serena, or both? Why not go with the flow, see if this really is a team of destiny? I saw in the Monday Net Post the Easy Ed doesn't want Fernandez to bring in the Williams sisters. When I asked him about it at the watercooler, he said he prefers to see the team field a consistent line-up.

While it's true that the players who have done the heavy lifting in the early rounds ought to get a chance to bask in final-round glory, I don't know that participation and loyalty ought to be determining factors in selection.For one thing, a captain's sole job is to figure out how to get the job done - to win. Every player in any given nation ought to be a candidate, and feel like a candidate, for any tie - unless he or she has no interest in the competition. Top players also are more reluctant than you might think to parachute in for a high-profile tie,  because that can create tensions within a team,  and it puts a lot of pressure on the star player.  

Alexa Glatch and Melanie Oudin are promising youngsters, but they're still of a difference class than the Williams sisters. Also, the USA line-up has been juggled plenty already (props to Mary Jo)  - it's not like Mattek-Sands or Glatch has carried this team. Team USA has started four different singles players (Jill Crybas, Oudin, Mattek-Sands and Glatch) in just two ties. So why not use six, if that's what it takes to get the job done?  I'd be curious to know how the American girls would feel about making room for Venus and Serena, knowing that doing so will certainly leave one or two of them sidelined for the glorious moment. Would any of these girls rather win more matches, or help win the Fed Cup? It's a serious question, I think, and a good one.

Keep in mind that this is a far cry from the good old days.  The USA made the final in 2003, only to get waxed by the French. And the last time the USA won the Fed Cup was in 2000, when Lindsay Davenport and Monica Seles roughed up a Spain squad that featured Conchita Martinez and Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario, on fast indoor supreme in Las Vegas.

This weekend, Serbia had to fight its way back into the World Group, despite having Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic on the squad. Also this weekend, talent-laden but unpredictable France re-inserted itself into the Word Group in yet another match decided by the fifth rubber (the doubles) . Russia has won the Fed Cup for four of the last five years, but the Italians - who have shown an amazing ability to punch above their weight - ended that run. So we have the "have nots (the U.S.)" battling it out with the "have somes." And if the USA brings along Venus, Serena or both, it's status can be upgraded to that of a "have mores."

The sisters will be in an awkward position - much moreso than the U.S. captain, Fernandez. The combination of red clay and home-court advantage will present a serious obstacle for the visiting team, even if it's led by the Williams sisters.And who knows what frame of mind the sisters will be in, come November?  While the clay may spell d-a-n-g-e-r, let's keep things in perspective:  Venus is 35-12 at Roland Garros, and Serena is 31-7. The Italian Fed Cup warhorses are Francesa Schiavone (20-18 at Roland Garros) and Flavia Pennetta, who's just 9-6 at the clay-court major.

And lastly, playing in the final asks a lot, mentally and emotionally, from relative newcomers like Oudin and Glatch. That's another good reason for Fernandez to contemplate picking up the phone after the U.S. Open to launch a campaign to convince the Williamses to play the final. I can see this the other way around, too - take that leap of faith with the youngsters, trusting that their desire and positive Fed Cup experience thus far will be sufficient inspiration. These girls have done a great job, and it may not seem right  to yank away the prize that's been dangled before them once they've gotten close enough to grab it.

But an away final, on slow clay, against an Italian team that consistently outperforms expectations  - that's a set of conditions that demands players who are Grand Slam tough, seasoned, and capable of intimidating their opponents simply by virtue of who they are. Should the Williams sisters play, they'd have a good shot at bringing home the Fed Cup trophy for the first time in nine years - and every woman who swung a racket in the cause would have reason to feel proud about her contribution.

Glatch, Mattek-Sands and company have done a great job, unexpectedly pulling team USA into the final.Now they should make room for the Williams sisters, if the girls are fit and willing, to complete what would have to be one of the outstanding team performances in recent memory. Playing a smaller role on a winning Fed Cup team must be a more rewarding experience than having a larger role in a losing effort.

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Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Missing FED CUPness!!! . . . SMILEY JJ!!!! :) 04/28/2009 at 01:23 PM

Lovely post FED CUP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!LOL
but only a sentence for my Fra-SVK tie??!!!!!!LOL.....i joke......but it was the best tie of the weekend........Serbia was good!!!LOL

Posted by Bobby 04/28/2009 at 01:24 PM

I agree with every single word in this post. My thoughts are that while the American women who've played so far this year have done a great job, I don't think they'd mind if the Williams sisters played in the final. Love them or hate them, the sisters are living legends – we know it (hopefully we all do), and the other American players know it. And, Pete, thanks for keeping "things in perspective" by pointing out the sisters' FO records – I didn't realize the records were that good.

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Missing FED CUPness!!! . . . SMILEY JJ!!!! :) 04/28/2009 at 01:28 PM

qhile i was one of the people who *sumwhat* started the Williams discussion.......i think they will be absent......serena hasnt played since 05.....and hasnt played an important tie since 99......and Venus hasnt played in....two years???. . .. and a while befor ethat!!!LOL...........

Posted by Sandra 04/28/2009 at 01:50 PM

Captain Fernandez' job is to field the best team that she can to win the tie, not to engage in sentimentality. While I'm happy for the girls who managed to beat the Czech Republic, consider who they played against - it was a winnable tie. The Italians, on clay, in Fed Cup, in Italy, are another matter. Sentimentality won't carry the day under these circumstances. Penetta and Schiavone are 2 players who consistently overachieve in Fed Cup. And the fact that the Italians have won the Cup recently will also stand them in very good stead. Now, from V & S's point of view, they may not be willing to jump in the middle of this - there would be the extra pressure on them to carry the team to the win, there's the fact that clay is their worst surface, and there will certainly be much "hateration" heaped on them for being bogarted into the final tie. All this is pressure that I'm sure both V & S would be happy to live without, so I wouldn't be surprised if they try to stay out of it. But from Captain Fernandez' perspective, I'll bet she'd like to have either one sister or both sister at least available to play at least 2 of the singles matches. MJ is going to need at least one ringer against the likes of Penetta and Schiavone on clay.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 04/28/2009 at 01:52 PM

oh well thanks for the post Pete and thanks for giving the view that Serena and/or Venus Williams should be allowed to play in the finals if they are available even though I doubt they would.

Jacko - *correction* Serena and Venus last played in 2007. Vee played both the QF and SF, Serena only the QF as she got injured during Wimbledon. Both their matches in the 07 QF were important as it gave the US a 2-0 cushion which Vania swept by winning the third singles match. So I dunno if these were not important matches or not no? ;-)Although I am with you that they may not play.

Posted by dollymix 04/28/2009 at 01:57 PM

Uh, I'm looking at Schiavone's WTA page and it says she's 22-9 at the French; in the last four years she's been knocked out by Azarenka, Safina, Ivanovic and Kuznetsova, no great shame in any of those. She also made the finals in doubles last year.

Italy should win this regardless of whether the Williams sisters play. Venus is mediocre on clay (despite her surprisingly good French record, she's beaten only three top-20 players in that run) and Pannetta knocked her out of the French last year. And I think there's no question the Italians' commitment to the tie would be greater than the Americans'.

Posted by Master Ace 04/28/2009 at 01:58 PM

Agree that the Williams Sisters should play the final because they would give the USA a better chance of winning the title for the first time since 2000 and the Italians, with the same 2 singles players, have won it in 2006. You forgot to add Julie Ditty, who played the deciding doubles match with Liezel Huber against Argentina. Also, agree with Ed that Liezel has embraced Fed Cup and without a doubt, she is the leader of the team. However, with Zina Garrison filing a lawsuit against the USTA for being treated unfairly, will the Williams Sisters(especially Venus) be loyal to Zina and not play.
Imagine if the Williams Sisters does play and the USA wins, these would be their career credintals:
(a) 17 Slams(4 AO, 1 FO, 7 W, 5 USO)
(b) Fed Cup Title
(c) 3 Olympic Gold Medals(2000 Singles and Doubles and 2008 Doubles)
(d) 74 singles titles
(e) 12 doubles titles
(f) Career Slam in Mixed(Venus-AO/RG and Serena-W/USO)
(g) Career Slam in Doubles

By the way, Schiavone is 20-8 at Roland Garros not 20-18 as posted

Posted by dollymix 04/28/2009 at 01:58 PM

I should have added that I'm biased because I'm in love with Pennetta.

Posted by rafadoc 04/28/2009 at 02:05 PM

Great post Pete. Thanks for giving Fed Cup some love. :) I guess, for me, it is a matter of sentimental/emotional vs. outcome. From the sentimental side, I would love for Mary Jo to stick with the original team that have gutted out 2 ties they were not supposed to win. Then again, in reality, how can you not want the Williams Sisters and their clay records to optimize the best outcome? The current team may feel fine with stepping away to make room for ReRe or Vee but then again, it could be demoralizing. *shrugs*

Posted by Budour 04/28/2009 at 02:10 PM

Thanks for the post, Pete. How nice to see you write a post on anything other than Federe. :) Kidding
I agree with Jacko!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!LOL
Seriously, I don't think the Williamses will be all that motivated to play a Fed Cup tie. In November. On clay. In Europe. And even if they were to decide to play, I don't think they *deserve* to replace the girls who played their hearts out and carried the team through.
Italy is my favourite Fed CUp team and Fran Schiavone is one of favouritest players and I would love them to get another Fed Cup title. But part of me will be happy if a Willimas-less USA team pulls it off.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 04/28/2009 at 02:12 PM

Master Ace - They already have a Fed Cup title to their name (1999) so this would be their second ;-)

Posted by Master Ace 04/28/2009 at 02:20 PM

Avid Sports Fan,
Yep and the USO champion of that year was relegated to doubles duty:)

Posted by Pspace 04/28/2009 at 02:24 PM

Team spirit can make players achieve levels of greatness far above or far below their standing as individuals. Who's to say that Glatch and Oudin can't be better than S&V given the context. I don't think it's as simple as sentimental vs winning choice. And, it's not like S&V are the greatest claycourters of all time either, with Serena's RG run a long time in the past.

Another issue is that tennis in DC/Fed Cup is quite a different game from the tour, since the captain/coach is on the court. Some players are better than others at just switching off and letting the cap'n do the thinking. Glatch and Oudin probably hold Fernandez in high regard.

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Missing FED CUPness!!! . . . SMILEY JJ!!!! :) 04/28/2009 at 02:25 PM

Sorry avid!!!!LOL . . . . . . . . .. just working off of an come the one time i dont check my facts before posting its wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!LOL

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 04/28/2009 at 02:30 PM

Master Ace - Yes I remember ReRe being relegated to doubles duty with Lindsay and Vee as the the marquee singles players:)

Jacko - LOL! You have to trust your instincts and not the article ;-)

Posted by Aussiemarg{Madame President in Comma Rehab in 2009} 04/28/2009 at 02:30 PM

Pete I think we saw over the weekend in the Fed Cup playing for your country can lift you to greater heights regardless of your rank and even favourite surface.

Team USA needs to be congratulated for a stand out performance.

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Missing FED CUPness!!! . . . SMILEY JJ!!!! :) 04/28/2009 at 02:32 PM

i'd be too afraid to upset sum1 Avid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!LOL
but i think i shud just shut up now on the SandV front!!!!LOL

Posted by QuaD 04/28/2009 at 02:35 PM

Great article. I agree that Captain MJF and all the players should rally behind the Williams sisters both playing. The problem is if one of the sisters is injured or unable to play, does the other agree to travel to Italy after the season ending championships indoors and play on watered down slow red clay, and still risk losing even if they win both their singles matches. I think Venus has agreed to do this in the past and been stung. Still the fact that Huber could pair up with either sister and be a formidable doubles point must give them more confidence in the one Williams scenario.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 04/28/2009 at 02:47 PM

jacko - LOL! I hear ya about upsetting or offending someone ;-)

Posted by tina 04/28/2009 at 03:10 PM

Yes, Serbia had to earn its way back into the World Group, but you make it sound like it was a struggle to beat Spain. Spain didn't really put up such a big "fight" and for Serbia, "fighting" to get back into the World Group wasn't necessary. The tie went quite smoothly, an easy win. I reckon they'll be big trouble next year.

Posted by skip1515 04/28/2009 at 03:11 PM

The Zina Garrison angle to a Fernandez request to the Williams sisters may present the Williams' with nothing but a bad set of choices:

1) play and tacitly prove the USTA's point that Garrison failed to deliver them as team members due to her own inabilities (and that the USTA did not, in fact, fire her due to her race), or

2) not play for their own, tennis related reasons and tacitly imply that Garrison's failure to enlist them was due their own choice, and not Garrison, while suggesting further she that maybe she *was* fired for racial reasons (which may or may not be their opinion).

Curiouser and curiouser.

Posted by PiT0 04/28/2009 at 03:12 PM

There's a lot of time from here to November. Who knows where players like Mattek-Sands, Oudin, Glatch will be in the coming months. Glatch is on the verge of breaking the top 100 and Oudin has been making strides this year as well. If we were to pick based on current play, I'd embrace a Venus OR Serena w/ Oudin, Glatch and Huber team. A Venus v. Flavia rubber would be entertaining considering their past matches.

Posted by hightoss 04/28/2009 at 03:14 PM

I can't imagine either of the Williams sisters playing in the final, nor do I think MJF should count on them, even if they say they are playing.

Oh--and the last time I checked, Venus and Serena were both over 18.

Posted by Master Ace 04/28/2009 at 03:20 PM

Very good points on the Zina's angle.

Posted by Bobby 04/28/2009 at 03:23 PM

Master Ace, I love your summary of the Williams sisters' career together. As a Williams fan (mostly a Venus fan) I hope you'll have to add a lot more by the time they're done!

Posted by Master Ace 04/28/2009 at 03:36 PM

Williams Sisters career if they play and USA win in November
(a) 17 Slams(4 AO, 1 FO, 7 W, 5 USO)
(b) 2 Fed Cup Titles(1999 was prior year)
(c) 3 Olympic Gold Medals(2000 Singles and Doubles and 2008 Doubles)
(d) 74 singles titles
(e) 12 doubles titles(Serena has one with Stevenson therefore, Serena has 13)
(f) Career Slam in Mixed(Venus-AO/RG and Serena-W/USO)
(g) Career Slam in Doubles

Avid Sports Fan,
Thanks for the 1999 Fed Cup title.

Chances are that the Williams Sisters will be adding to this list.

Posted by TennisFan2 04/28/2009 at 04:04 PM

As I wrote yesterday MJ should put out the best possible team available to her. If Venus and Serena can and want to play they should play.

I understand the argument for keeping the team the way it is (and I congratulate MJ and the women that have taken them this far) but why on earth would any captain say no to having the two best women in the game right now play on her team if they are willing and able to compete?

I hope the ZG issue will not affect the Williams' decision to play. If they are healthy I would love to see them represent the US.

They have both spoken a number of times about last year's Olympic experience. I believe they truly like to represent the US and I would be happy to see them become part of the team. Not to mention, how great would it be for the younger women to be part of a winning US Fed Cup team that includes the Williams' - if I were one of the young players I'd love to be part of the team that won to get to the finals and brought in the best possible closers to take home the trophy.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 04/28/2009 at 04:28 PM

But seriously, does the Italy captain need to go on the record to say this:

"“I hope the Williams sisters don’t come,” Italy captain Corrado Barazzutti told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “If they do come, we’ll try to beat them. It’s not impossible on clay. (Flavia) Pennetta has already beaten Venus more than once.”"

Posted by Master Ace 04/28/2009 at 04:54 PM

Avid Sports Fan,
More intrigue for November by Italy's captain. Will that statement encourage the Williams Sisters to play or did he say that after hearing Mary Joe say that she is going to call them?

Posted by codepoke 04/28/2009 at 04:56 PM

Hahaha, Pete. Nice conundrum.

I usually go with you, but .....

Yes, America should probably go ahead and field the Williams if enough stars align. I'm fine with winning being the reason we play, and the Williams' giving us the best chance to win.

Still, nothing makes this sentence right:
> Playing a smaller role on a winning Fed Cup team must be a more rewarding experience than having a larger role in a losing effort.

The bench is never as rewarding as the field. Daring the up-and-comers who've shocked the world to feel more rewarded for picking splinters out of their warm-ups is just cruel.

Winning from the bench hurts. Tell them they need to pay their dues, but don't tell them to enjoy their weekend as hitting partners to prima donna #1 and her sister.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 04/28/2009 at 05:07 PM

Master Ace - yes definitely more intrigue as that statement can cause either of the two reactions you mentioned.

Posted by skip1515 04/28/2009 at 05:31 PM

What did Barrazutti say exactly that we wouldn't want our captain to say were the situation reversed? He says he hopes two of the top ten players in the world don't play against his team (all you can blame him for there is brutal honesty), and that if they do he ain't pee'in in his pants 'cause one of his team has beaten one of them twice last year.

Yup, he's forgetting that Panetta lost to Venus the last time they played, but that's a captain's perspective, and job.

Let's not make it trash talk when the other guy says it, and frank assessment when our leader delivers their incisive analysis, okay?

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 04/28/2009 at 05:41 PM

"Let's not make it trash talk when the other guy says it, and frank assessment when our leader delivers their incisive analysis, okay?"

skip1515 - First I am not American ;-) so none of the people involved is my *leader* And the reason why I said that is I have not heard captains for DC or Fed Cup saying things like I hope so so and so players do not come. May be there I have been instances but I have not heard that said or seen it in print. There is nothing wrong in the second part that is basically saying regardless of who the team comprises of, we will be ready for them.

And yes he has forgotten that the last *two times* Vee has met Flavia she beat her in straight sets , one on HC and one on clay just when everyone had concluded Flavia has Vee's number.

Posted by Samantha Elin 04/28/2009 at 05:57 PM

I have to give JJ and Ana a lot of credit they always play for their country, no matter how tight their schedules. Frannie is the same. My feeling is that MJF needs to put together the best team and Oudin, Glatch and Mattex are FAR outside the league of the Williamses. Let's face it, Serena is the best player in the game and players like Glatch are ranked close to 1OO. Italy is a much stronger team than the Czech and Argentina. America needs is best team and that includes the Williamses. I notice that Britain can draw players from Scotland, Wales and other parts of Britain. I would like to see the same for my homeland. I would like to see the Scandinavian countries(Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway) combined into one team, this is our only chance to win and I would love that. I would like to see Caro and Sofia Arvidsson play on one team. Russian has done something similar, Elena Vesnina is from the Ukraine but plays for neighboring Russia. Go Caro, Scandinavia's#1, world's#11, first Scandinavian woman to win 4 WTA titles and 2OO8, new comer of the year.

Posted by Samantha Elin 04/28/2009 at 06:07 PM

For those who feel the Williamses haven't payed their dues, I say give me a break, Venus has played many times for team USA, and let's face it, they have been carrying American tennis for many years. America only has two players who can win a slam and they are both name Williams and that has been true for five years. Roddick hasn't won a slam and doesn't have the game to beat either Federer or Nadal. The Williamses have carried American tennis. If not for them, Russia would completely dominate the game. They have paid their dues over and over to America. Right now they hold 3 of the 4 slams.

Posted by Samantha Elin 04/28/2009 at 06:08 PM

Intended to say Roddick hasn't won a slam in 5 years. If he's a slam contender so am I.

Posted by Tennis Fan 04/28/2009 at 06:13 PM

"That's another good reason for Fernandez to contemplate picking up the phone after the U.S. Open to launch a campaign to convince the Williamses to play the final."

MJ is not contemplating, she already said she is going to do it. However, we know it's a moot point anyway.

"if the girls are fit and willing"

We already know the answer to this: they are not will and the only thing Serena is fit for after the USO is surfing. And they are certainly not going to play after the YEC.

"Playing a smaller role on a winning Fed Cup team must be a more rewarding experience than having a larger role in a losing effort."

What an assumption. They are already relegated to losers! Wow! And Venus and Serena are already winners! Unbelieveable. It's all about winning and not how you play the game I guess. Sure it will be a tough task but the Italians are not unbeatable. Anyway it really is a moot point.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 04/28/2009 at 06:20 PM

"the only thing Serena is fit for after the USO is surfing."

Tennis Fan - it's ok if they do not deserve to play but come on this is unnecessary.

Posted by Samantha Elin 04/28/2009 at 06:37 PM

She was fit enough to win the AO do.

Posted by Samantha Elin 04/28/2009 at 06:39 PM

meant to. I just don't see how anyone can argue they don't deserve it when they have done so much for American tennis.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war 04/28/2009 at 07:35 PM

*loves Fed Cup posts*

It's late and I'm tired and I haven't got anything interesting to say, but I did enjoy the read. :)

Posted by Sandra 04/28/2009 at 07:41 PM

Team sport means team sport. It means you do what is best for the team to win. Being part of a team means each individual gives up what they think they "deserve" individually for the good of the team. If she likes her job, MF better do what it takes to win. If she goes with the current team and loses, that debacle will be long remembered. If she goes with the Williams sisters and she still loses, nobody will fault her for going with the best players and the best odds.

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!!) 04/28/2009 at 07:44 PM

i was very sad that i missed fed cup - but very excited the US women actually pulled it out, off, whatever!

i dunno, mary jo needs to contact the Williams, and if they can play, great. If not, you field the best team you can. I tend to look at davis cup and fed cup as year long events... if one player wins one match throughout the year, they've something to be proud of, they've cumulatively done something great for their team.

in baseball, final game of the world series, the pitchers who already started and did their part to get them there aren't one bit not psyched about the win.

'course, codepokes point about competitors always wanting to be in the game is also true... :)

That being said - Go US FED Cup! :)))

Posted by skip1515 04/28/2009 at 08:39 PM

avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" wrote:

"skip1515 - First I am not American ;-) so none of the people involved is my *leader*"

Fair enough. But your handle suggests you are part of Serena's cheerleading team, so believing you are personally invested in how someone (for example, Barrazutti) addresses her role and activities isn't a big stretch, either.

So what if he chooses to gloss over Venus' most recent wins over Panetta? His job is to rally his team. Jeez, he's already said he hopes the Williams' don't show. What else should he do when the AP comes a'calling, cry a river and wring his hands moaning "Woe is me"?

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 04/28/2009 at 08:45 PM

skip1515 - No I do not expect him to wail a river but like I said there is nothing wrong in rallying your team etc because that is what a captain is supposed to do but I have never heard a captain saying "I hope so, so, or so player does not show up" but like I said if it has been done before and it is acceptable then fine. I care less if he chooses to gloss over Venus' most recent wins over Panetta.

Personally I have no investment and would rather Serena and/or Venus not play anyways especially with the negative reception their glory stealing would generate if they were to play and win.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 04/28/2009 at 08:56 PM

skip1515 - And I did not call what the Italian captain said trash talk (that was your inference), I thought part of it (not all) was not sportsman-like. Because saying you hope a player does not show up can translate to a lot of things that can cause them not to show up. If the roles were reversed and some said they wish his team (of Pennetta and Schiavione) does not show up how would that be?

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 04/29/2009 at 02:16 AM

"I tend to look at davis cup and fed cup as year long events... if one player wins one match throughout the year, they've something to be proud of, they've cumulatively done something great for their team."

With jb.

it feels stupid me commenting on US Fed Cup, not being American, but I don't think it would feel like glory stealing if S and V played the final - if they are available to play, it seems like the responsibility of the captain to select the best team available, and it would be hard to leave the Williamses out. Oudin or Glatch would still have contributed massively, like Rafa last year in DC...that credit wouldn't disappear. On the other hand, as Pspace said (and Spain in DC) proved last year) the team element can really push players to a new level, and it would be nice to see some of the previous contributors get the final glory moment...of course, if they lost, I guess there would be no glory, only opprobrium.

I guess if S or V or both played, there would need to be some time to build the team.

I probably should know this, but does everybody who played in the team competition get a medal or something, or just those who played in the final?

"I notice that Britain can draw players from Scotland, Wales and other parts of Britain."

Sadly this does not seem to give us much of an advantage. ;-)

Posted by Bismarck 04/29/2009 at 02:53 AM

i think it´s more likely to see a cold day in hell than both williamses playing on italian clay in november 2009...
then again, who knows, they tend to surprise.

if (if if if if) they are available, mj fernandez should put them on the pitch of course. no question.

Posted by jon 04/29/2009 at 06:00 AM

Who cares? It's women's tennis.

Posted by Samantha Elin 04/29/2009 at 06:32 AM

Ah Jon, why are you here? Just to knock women's tennis which is as good as the guys. Hi Bissy. Go Caro, Scandinavia's#1!

Posted by creig bryan 04/29/2009 at 07:54 AM

Samantha Elin:

Are you interested in a few exclusive pictures of Scandinavia's World #1?

Keep Smiling

Posted by Master Ace 04/29/2009 at 08:00 AM

Creig Bryan,
Post those pics of Caroline anyway. Saw one where her hair was flying all over the place yesterday on another site.

Posted by Master Ace 04/29/2009 at 08:26 AM

Zina Garrison and USTA ordered to settle:

Posted by PC 04/29/2009 at 01:12 PM

I saw the Fed Cup against the Cheks? in Lowell MA a few years ago. Serena was serving so hard, her opponent was literally ducking.

I say, if the W's are healthy and willing, bring them in.

Posted by Second Serve 04/29/2009 at 04:29 PM

Much ado about nothing, Pete. I'd say the chance of having even one of the two Williams sister playing this Fed cup finals is less than 50%.

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