MELBOURNE, Â AUSTRALIA â€“ January 25, 2011-Â The UnitedÂ States Tennis Association held a media conference call with US Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez as she named the team set to face-off against Belgium In February.Â The US team will consist ofÂ Liezel Huber, Vania King, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Melanie Oudin.
On Venus Williams:Venus was going to play, and unfortunately she got hurt during the Australian Open and just confirmed with her just a couple of days ago about her injury and she wouldn’t be able to go.
On watching Huber, Oudin, Mattek-Sands and King play in Australia: Well, Liezel just won last night her doubles. She’s going to be playing in the semifinals later today with Nadia Petrova. And she’s been looking her usual prepared self and playing smart tennis on the doubles courts. Bethanie had a great run down here in Australia winning the Hopman Cup with John Isner and then getting to the finals in a warm-up tournament before. She had a tough first-round match against actually a qualifier named (Arantxa) Rus. Was down a set in the break and fought really hard and came back and started up the match in the third and had a tough time closing it out. But in the mixed doubles lost her doubles yesterday. So she’s been playing a lot of tennis, which is good. She’s match tough. She’s prepared.
Melanie had a tougher time down under, not winning any matches, and losing a tough three set match here in her first round here at the Australian Open. She’s not as confident. But Fed Cup seems to bring out the best in Melanie time and time again. And she’s practicing hard again this week. And we’ll be ready for her next week. And Vania won her first round and then lost to (Caroline) Wozniacki in a tough second round. Wozniacki is still in the tournament. She’s in the semis. That was a tough drop for her. But she’s coming from last year playing two major finals and winning them in doubles, with (Yaroslava) Shvedova. She didn’t win here. But she as well is back at home and starting to practice and get ready. So overall pretty good. They all have played matches and will be ready.
On the progress young American women such as Lauren Davis, Beatrice Capra, Christina McHale and Coco Vandeweghe: Lauren Davis will be coming along as one of our young players. Won the (USTA) wildcard playoff tournament to the Australian Open and lost to Sam Stosur in the first right here. And playing Juniors and had a tough win yesterday, and I think she’s on court again today. So I’m looking forward to having her there. She’s won so many matches in the last season winning Juniors and Challengers and everything. So I think it’s something like 35, 36 matches. She’s definitely one to watch. And we had eight American women in the main draw here that were 21 years old and younger, which was really nice to see, and that included Christina McHale and Coco Vandeweghe.
Alison Riske, Jamie Hampton. So it was a nice break-through. Unfortunately, they didn’t get past the first round. So we still have a lot of work to do. But they’re slowly getting there. I really believe that all these women should be in the top 100. They should be consistently getting into the majors and perhaps going a lot further and breaking the top 50. I think it was a big step to get so many in the main draw, whether it was through qualifying or like Lauren won the (USTA) wildcard tournament and got straight in risk got straight in, and (Irina) Falconi came thru qualifying as well. It’s definitely looking better. And the women are working hard.
I was down in Florida, the USTA Training Center in December, watching a lot of the girls practice and they’re taking it really seriously. And that’s why I really suspect a big jump from a lot of them here in 2011.
The US Fed Cup Team will face Belgiun in the World Group quarterfinal in Antwerp, Belgium, February 5-6. The Tennis Channel will provide daily television coverage.
Tennis Panorama News participates in many tennis media conference calls. â€œOn The Callâ€ serves to give readers an insiderâ€™s view of tennis news.