The United States will face Ukraine this weekend in the Fed Cup World Group Playoff. The tie is being held at the Superior Golf & Spa Resort in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
The best-of-five match series begins on Saturday, April 21, with two singles matches and is followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday, April 22. Tennis Channel will present daily coverage beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.
The US team held a pre-draw news conference on Thursday.
U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez
When asked about the criteria used in choosing the team: â€œUsually you look through the rankings to see whoâ€™s playing well, and you look at some of the good match-ups, as well as whoâ€™s healthy, and put together the best team possible for that tie.â€
On some of the strengths of the Ukrainian team: â€œI know quite a bit about the opponents. Iâ€™ve watched some of the players. They are a young team but very eager. They played very well in their first round against Italy. We look forward to the challenge when we face them.
When asked about having a young team: â€œEverybody on the team has really improved and worked really hard. Itâ€™s nice to have young players coming up and doing well. Jamie, Sloan [Stephens] and Christina [McHale] have really pushed each other and its nice to see them develop as really good players.â€
On Serena and Liezel leading the team: â€œIts great to have two great champions like Serena and Liezel playing on your team with the experience they bring and a lot of grand slam titles. And they share that [experience] with the younger members. Now looking ahead, you look to the young players to become the leaders eventually. We start early and develop. Iâ€™ve had all of these players for a few years now, and they are developing really well and getting better every day.â€
On the Bondarenko sisters not playing on the Ukrainian team: â€œI was surprised that at least one of the Bondarenko sisters was not competing on the Ukrainian team. I know them pretty well from the tour.â€
When asked about how sheâ€™s feeling about her game and coming off of good back-to-back matches: â€œI feel really good about it. Iâ€™m really enjoy playing on clay because clay is a lot different. Iâ€™m looking forward to just continuing, and that my good playing carries over to Fed Cup.â€
When asked about playing Fed Cup in Ukraine and missing some of the past ties: â€œIâ€™m here to play with my team. I ran into some health problems the last few years and that is why I was not able to play Fed Cup the last few times.â€
When asked about playing Fed Cup: â€œI love being on a team. I love playing for my country. We always have a good week leading up and hopefully this will be another one of those weeks.â€
On playing with for the U.S. versus for South Africa: â€œI think Iâ€™ve actually played more ties for the U.S. now, and I definitely have had more victories. I prefer when somebody wonders where I learned to play the game that they guess South Africa first. But I feel more American and this is home for me.â€
Â Quotes provided by the USTA