Chicago’s Sears Centre Arena to Host Davis Cup Wolrd Group Play-Off USA vs Slovakia






Tickets Go On Sale in Mid-July


Davis Cup Tennis to be Played in Illinois for the First Time since 1928


USTA-WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., June 19, 2014 – The USTA and U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier announced today that the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, has been selected as the site for the 2014 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Playoff between the United States and Slovakia, Sept. 12-14. The arena will feature an indoor hard court and will have an expected capacity of approximately 7,000.


“Chicago is a great tennis town with passionate fans and we are looking forward to bringing Davis Cup to the city for the first time in more than 80 years,” said U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier. “This is a very important tie. I know we’ll bring our best and we know that Slovakia will play us tough, so we can’t wait to get out there and play in front of an enthusiastic, patriotic crowd. Chicago will be a great host for our guys and we hope everyone comes out to cheer the U.S. to victory.”


Tickets will go on sale in mid-July. For more information, fans can visit www.usta.com/daviscup or call 1-888-484-USTA (8782). The event is being organized, staged and promoted by the USTA.


The best-of-five match series begins Friday, Sept. 12, with two singles matches featuring each country’s No. 1 player against the other country’s No. 2 player. Saturday’s schedule features the pivotal doubles match, and the final day of play on Sunday includes two “reverse singles” matches, where the No. 1 players square off followed by the No. 2 players going head to head.  All matches are best-of-five sets until one country wins three matches (then they are best-of-three sets).


“We are delighted the USTA has selected the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates to host this prestigious event. It will be a great opportunity for all sports fans throughout the Chicagoland area to enjoy world class tennis,” said Hoffman Estates Mayor William D. McLeod.


The U.S. is 110-18 all-time in Davis Cup ties played at home, playing in 79 different venues in 34 states. The U.S. Davis Cup team has made just one appearance in Illinois, sweeping Japan in the America Zone final in 1928 at the Town & Fitness Club in Chicago. This will be the fourth consecutive home tie for the U.S. Davis Cup team.


The U.S., seeded No. 5 for the Playoff, holds a 2-0 record over Slovakia in Davis Cup. The Americans last faced the Slovaks in the 2003 World Group Playoff in Bratislava, where the U.S. won, 3-2, behind a team led by Andy Roddick, who won the US Open singles title the week before. Mardy Fish and Bob and Mike Bryan also competed on the squad. The U.S. also played Slovakia in the 2002 World Group First Round in Oklahoma City, with the U.S. winning the tie, 5-0.


Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage of the U.S. vs. Slovakia. The winner of this tie qualifies for the 2015 Davis Cup World Group and is eligible to compete for the Davis Cup title next year. The losing nation will compete in their respective Zone Group I competition in 2015.


The site selection is subject to final approval by the International Tennis Federation.


Founded in 1900, Davis Cup is the world’s largest annual international men’s team competition with 130 nations competing in 2014. The U.S. leads all nations with 32 Davis Cup titles. The U.S. holds a 213-68 all-time Davis Cup record and owns the longest uninterrupted run in the World Group, dating back to 1989. For more information, including access to player and historical Davis Cup records, please go to www.usta.com/daviscup or www.daviscup.com. Follow the U.S. Davis Cup team on Twitter @USDavisCupTeam.

Wilson is the official ball of the U.S. Davis Cup team.


France Edges USA in Fed Cup World Group Play-Offs


Caroline Garcia photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

Caroline Garcia photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots


(April 20, 2014) The Fed Cup World Group Play-off tie between France and the USA came down to the final match – the doubles rubber. The doubles team of Caroline Garcia and Virginie Razzano led France to a 3-2 victory over the United States on Sunday with 6-2, 7-5 over Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys at the Chaifetz Arena on the campus of Saint Louis University.

“She was totally amazing, unbelievable,” France captain Amelie Mauresmo said of Garcia who also won both of her singles rubbers. “She really rose to the occasion and was fearless.”

“Again with both singles and doubles, with the help of Virginie in the doubles. “I think she loved Fed Cup.”I’m happy for her.”

“She really stood up to the occasion, she rose to this occasion being fearless completely, being great, and supported by the whole group, the whole team.”


“She was the star of the weekend,” USA captain Mary Jo Fernandez said pf Garcia. “I never thought that she got nervous in any of the matches. She’s really aggressive and it’s all coming together.”


“I like her game a lot. I’ve liked it for a long time. She’s much more disciplined now with her shot selection.

“She’s a great athlete. She didn’t miss many returns today in the doubles, and in the singles she was really aggressive. So I like her game. I’ve always liked her game. Now it’s all coming together.”


In Sunday’s first match of the day, Sloane Stephens, the United States’ top-ranked player, faced Virginie Razzano, who replaced Alize Cornet in singles after Cornet suffered a leg injury. Stephens won her first-ever Fed Cup singles match, defeating Razzano, 6-2, 6-4, in one hour and seven minutes. Stephens and Razzano had never played each other before this tie. Stephens is now 1-2 in singles play in Fed Cup competition and Razzano is 10-5.


The second singles match featured Madison Keys, 19, and Caroline Garcia, 20, where Garcia won her second singles match this weekend, defeating Keys, 6-4, 6-3. Garcia won her first WTA singles title last weekend in Bogota, Colombia, as well as the doubles title. Keys is now 1-2 in Fed Cup singles play.


France’s win means they have qualified for the World Group in 2015 and will compete for the Fed Cup championship. The U.S. will compete in World Group II in 2015 for just the second time since the World Group format was instituted in 1995 (the U.S. competed in the World Group II in 2012).


U.S. Fed Cup Coverage on Tennis Channel this Weekend


LOS ANGELES, April18, 2014 Tennis Channel will provide exclusive live coverage of the U.S. Fed Cup team’s playoff competition against France in St. Louis this weekend, with live world-whiparound telecasts on Center Court Saturday, April 19, beginning at 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 20 ET, beginning at 2 p.m. ET. Similar to the setup used at major events like the US Open, French Open and Wimbledon, Center Court utilizes a central-desk format and seamless coverage of matches playing simultaneously on multiple courts. The United States must defeat France to qualify for the 2015 Fed Cup tournament. Former Australian Open semifinalist (2013) Sloane Stephens will join Madison Keys, Varvara Lepchenko and Christina McHale as they fight for a spot in next year’s Fed Cup tournament after losing their first-round match to Italy in February.


In addition to televising the United States-FranceFed Cup playoff this weekend, Tennis Channel will cover the 2015 Fed Cup semifinals live on Center Court with Italy-Czech Republic play, in Ostrava, Czech Republic, beginning at 7 a.m. ET, and Germany-Australia competition in Brisbane, Australia, beginning at 10:45 p.m. ET.


Tennis Channel will also feature the men’s Monte Carlo tournament and the women’s Kuala Lumpur tournament this weekend, which feature such stars as Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Stanislas Wawrinka and Dominika Cibulkova.


Coverage on Center Court is as follows (all time ET):

Saturday, April  19:

7a.m. – Live Singles #1 Italy v. Czech Republic 

7:30 a.m. – Live ATP Monte Carlo

4:30 p.m. –Live Singles #1 USA v. France

6:30 p.m. – Live Singles #2 USA v. France

10:45 p.m. – Live Singles #3 Germany v. Australia 

1a.m. – Live Singles #4 Germany v. Australia 

3a.m. – Live Doubles Germany v. Australia 


Sunday, April 20:

6a.m. – Live Singles Italy v. Czech Republic / WTA Kuala Lumpur

6:30a.m. – Live Doubles ATP Monte Carlo

9a.m. – Live Singles ATP Monte Carlo

2 p.m. – Live Singles #3 USA v. France

4p.m. – Live Singles #4 USA v. France

6p.m. – Live Doubles USA v. France


The United States and France have faced each other 11 times in Fed Cup play, with the United States winning all but one of those meetings. However, France captured its sole victory against the United States in 2003in the final.The American squad must defeat France in order to compete in the 2015 Fed Cup competition. The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup championships, the most recent in 2000.


Retired tennis star Mary Joe Fernandez, a member of the winning U.S. Fed Cup team in 1996, will lead the United States Fed Cup team for her sixth year as captain. Stephens reached her first seminal at a Grand Slam last year when she defeated Serena Williams in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. Keys received her first victory over a top-ten player last year at the Madrid Open when she defeated Li Na in the first round before falling to Angelique Kerber. Lepchenko had a breakout season last year when she advanced the fourth round at the French Open and the third rounds at both Wimbledon and the US Open. McHale earned praise for her impressive performance at the 2013 US Open in the third round before falling to former World No. 1 Ana Ivanovic.


If France wins this weekend it will qualify for a chance to play for the 2015 Fed Cup.  France’s team is captained by Amelie Mauresmo and features Alize Cornet, Caroline Garcia, Virginie Razzano and Claire Feuerstein.


St. Louis to Host USA – France Fed Cup Tie

Fed Cup logo


From the USTA: WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., March 13, 2014 – The USTA today announced that Chaifetz Arena on the campus of Saint Louis University has been selected as the site for the 2014 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Playoff between the United States and France, April 19-20.  Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international women’s team competition (96 countries entered in 2014).


The best-of-five match series begins on Saturday, April 19, with two singles matches and is followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday, April 20. Matches will be played on an indoor hard court.


The U.S.-France winner will advance to the 2015 World Group and have a chance to compete for the Fed Cup title next year. The loser will be relegated to World Group II. The U.S. has competed in the World Group in 41 of 42 Fed Cup competitions (all but 2012) and is 3-1 in World Group Playoff matches.


“This is the first time we are playing Fed Cup in St. Louis, so I am really looking forward to competing there next month in front of an enthusiastic and patriotic home crowd,” said Mary Joe Fernandez, who is in her sixth year as the U.S. Fed Cup captain. “We have veteran players in Serena and Venus Williams who are available to play, as well as many strong, up-and-coming young Americans who are always excited to compete for their country. The tennis will be fantastic, from both the U.S. and France, so we are excited to have the city of St. Louis behind us.”


Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Friday, March 21, at 10 a.m. CT, with a USTA member pre-sale beginning on Thursday, March 20, at 10 a.m. CT. To order tickets, fans can visit www.ticketmaster.com or www.usta.com/fedcup, call the U.S. Fed Cup hotline at (888) 334-8782, or visit the Chaifetz Arena Box Office. The event is being organized, staged and promoted by the USTA.


Missouri will be hosting Fed Cup for the second time. The state previously hosted the 2002 World Group Playoff in Springfield at the Cooper Tennis Complex, where a team that included nine-time Grand Slam champion Monica Seles and 2014 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Lindsay Davenport swept Israel, 5-0. Dwight Davis, who in 1900 founded Davis Cup, the men’s equivalent to Fed Cup, was born in St. Louis in 1879.


“We’re thrilled to have the USTA and international tennis return to St. Louis,” said Frank Viverito, president of the St. Louis Sports Commission. “Our community has a rich tennis history that dates back to Dwight Davis, who was from St. Louis.  So it’s very meaningful when we can build on that tradition by hosting one of the sport’s most prestigious events.  We’re excited the USTA chose our region and that fans will have the chance to experience the Fed Cup, which has long been on our wish list of events to bring to St. Louis.”


“We are ecstatic about hosting the Fed Cup as fans flock to the campus of Saint Louis University to be a part of the electrifying atmosphere as the United States takes on France,” said Global Spectrum’s Jim Wynkoop, General Manager of Chaifetz Arena. “The intimate size of Chaifetz Arena will provide tennis fans an unparalleled, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of world-class tennis from an up-close and personal perspective.”


The United States Fed Cup Team will be competing in its third consecutive home tie. In February, the U.S. played in the World Group Quarterfinal in Cleveland, falling to reigning champion Italy, 3-1, with a team of three Fed Cup rookies. The U.S. also found itself in the World Group Playoff in 2013, when Serena Williams and Venus Williams led the U.S. to victory over Sweden in Delray Beach, Fla. The U.S. is 37-5 all-time in Fed Cup ties played at home and holds an overall 143-34 record.


This will mark the 13th matchup between the U.S. and France in Fed Cup competition. The U.S. holds an 11-1 advantage, with its only loss coming in the 2003 Final held in Moscow on indoor carpet, where France won, 4-1. The U.S. last played France in Fed Cup in the 2010 World Group Quarterfinal in Lievin, France, with the U.S. winning, 4-1, on an indoor clay court.


The site selection is subject to final approval by the International Tennis Federation. Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage of the World Group Playoff.


The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000.  For more information, including access to player and historical Fed Cup records, please go to www.usta.com/fedcup or www.fedcup.com. Wilson is the official ball of the U.S. Fed Cup Team.


Knapp Sacks Riske: Italy Advances in Fed Cup Over USA


By Steve Fogleman

(February 9, 2014) Karin Knapp followed up on her win over Christina McHale yesterday with a clinching 6-3, 7-5 victory today over Alison Riske in the first round of the 2014 Fed Cup season in Cleveland, Ohio. The Italians defeated the American team in all three live rubbers.

Knapp did had some trouble closing it out over Riske, who was a last-minute replacement for Madison Keys in an effort by Captain Mary Joe Fernandez to get some momentum for the US. Riske acquitted herself well. She elevated her game in the second set, and after drawing even with the Italian, she was broken at 5-5 in the next game. Knapp served it out from here.

Overall, the match was more competitive than it might appear.

“It’s not easy because she came back. I got a little bit nervous. I got a little bit of emotion.”

Knapp told the press that the team made a pact to jump in the Cleveland snow if they won the tie.

“After this, we will all put the jacket on, the scarf on and we will jump in the snow!”, she said.

No word on when and where that photo opportunity will occur, but the snowy tundra of Cleveland Public Square is conveniently located between the venue and the Fed Cup hotel.

The snow didn’t stop the crowd from arriving to cheer on the US team, but it did slow them down. There were many empty seats at the start of the tie, but the fans filled in to create a boisterous cheering section by the beginning of the second set. The Public Auditorium was noticeably louder than yesterday.



Riske had a “big group of people from Pittsburgh” to join her for the event. She called the tie “an unbelievable experience” and noted the “awesome” support from the fans.

She’ll be in training in the two weeks leading up to Indian Wells.

Madison Keys and Lauren Davis won the inconsequential doubles rubber 6-2, 6-3 over Nastassja Burnett and Alice Matteucci.

Italy will advance to the quarterfinals, while the US will be attempting to simply avoid relegation from the World Group in their next outing.

Steve Fogleman is Editor of TennisEastCoast.com, a Mid-Atlantic based tennis website. He is in Cleveland, Ohio covering the Fed Cup tie between USA and Italy for Tennis Panorama News.

Related article:

Catching Up with Alison Riske at Fed Cup in Cleveland



Italy Sweeps USA on Day 1 of Fed Cup to Take 2-0 Lead


By Steve Fogleman

(February 8, 2014) CLEVELAND – Team Italy blanked the USA on Saturday in Cleveland, Ohio, to take a 2-0 lead in Fed Cup first round action.

Christina McHale played a horrendous first set, ceding second serves to Karin Knapp. Knapp’s powerful backhand threatened to make the match a runaway for the Italian. McHale settled down in the second and broke twice to level the score at 6-4.

The ultimate result was a big bang for Italy with a victory by Karin Knapp in three sets, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. McHale ran her Fed Cup career record to 5-3 with the loss.

After the match, McHale admitted that “by giving her that lead she really relaxed and started playing much better.”

The Italian team was especially loud and supportive. Karin Knapp acknowledged that she feeds off of them and predicted that they would feed off of her win.

“We are not a lot, but we are loud. They helped me”, she said.  “They gave me confidence”.

“If I get the point, maybe Camila goes on the court a little relaxed.”

Maybe you’re right, Karin Knapp.

As predicted by Knapp, Camila Giorgi did come out relaxed…and focused.

Giorgi thrashed Madison Keys 6-2, 6-1, notching a victory for the Italian in her first Fed Cup rubber. Keys seemed to be confused and having one of those days, and she was unable to hold serve on a regular basis.

Giorgi said it did help her composure knowing that her nation was already on the board before she hit her first ball in a Fed Cup.

Keys summed it up best. “She was playing amazingly. I can only control so many things. Great job to her today”, she said.

The Americans are now in danger of losing a fourth straight tie to the Italian team dating back ten years. They’re 0-10 in ties where they’ve started with a pair of singles losses.

But US Captain Mary Joe Fernandez has every reason to believe that this team, at least on paper, should have a realistic shot at pulling a sweep of their own tomorrow. I agree.

Steve Fogleman is Editor of TennisEastCoast.com, a Mid-Atlantic based tennis website. He is in Cleveland, Ohio covering the Fed Cup tie between USA and Italy for Tennis Panorama News.


Video Bonus:
Fed Cup Cleveland: Better Than the Winter Olympics



Catching Up with Alison Riske at Fed Cup in Cleveland

.@RISKE4REWARDS: Close to Home, But Still Not Messin’ Around With Those Cleveland Browns
By Steve Fogleman

(February 7, 2014) CLEVELAND – Alison Riske grew up in Pittsburgh, a mere two hours from Cleveland, but this week marks the first time the 23-year-old has ever been to this nearly-neighboring fair city.

As a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, Riske is jovial and simultaneously serious about her love of the Steelers spoiling her desire to camp out in Cleveland.

“Never came. It is Browns territory, so I’m like ‘I’m not setting foot over there’.

I wouldn’t want to come to Cleveland for any other occasion than Fed Cup.”


The World No. 46 admitted this without hesitation when I caught up with her outside of the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott at Key Center on the eve of her maiden Fed Cup voyage as a player.

Riske was a designated hitting partner six years ago as a 17-year-old at the US Fed Cup tie in Moscow and appreciated the experience.

“I got my feet wet. I think that was the whole point of being a ‘Future Fed Cupper’.

US Fed Cup Team 2014 Cleveland

Riske joins Cleveland native Lauren Davis in the fifth and final rubber on Sunday in doubles against Alice Matteucci and Nastassja Burnett. It could be crucial.

Fed Cup Doubles: Alison Riske, Lauren Davis, Nastassja Burnett, Alice Matteucci

Though she can cross ‘Fed Cup’ off of the old Bucket List for now, she says she’ll gladly come back and play singles anytime.

FUN FACT: Riske is the only regarded WTA player who lists Washington, DC as her address. But she’ll be filling out a change of address form sometime soon.

She’ll head to Toronto to rejoin her coach, Yves Boulais, who she followed to the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland a year ago. She will train full-time in Canada. Boulais left Maryland and returned to College Park late last year. She credits him for much of her success.

“I feel like my game has transformed into something I can build on. It’s really exciting and I think the best is yet to come.”

Steve Fogleman is Editor of TennisEastCoast.com, a Mid-Atlantic based tennis website. He is in Cleveland, Ohio covering the Fed Cup tie between USA and Italy for Tennis Panorama News.

Alison Riske photo by Steve Fogleman

Alison Riske photo by Steve Fogleman

Related articles:

Draw Set for US-Italy Fed Cup in Cleveland

Draws and Results for Fed Cup for February 7, 2014


Draw Set for US-Italy Fed Cup in Cleveland


By Steve Fogleman

(February 7, 2014) CLEVELAND – The US and Italian Fed Cup Team match ups are all set in Cleveland, having been determined during an afternoon draw ceremony on Friday at a downtown hotel two blocks from the site of the tie the Public Auditorium.

The second-highest ranked American on the team, Christina McHale, will open against top Italian Team player Karin Knapp at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, followed by Madison Keys and Camila Giorgi.

On Sunday, Keys and Knapp will meet at 12:00 p.m., followed by McHale and Giorgi.

Alison Riske and Lauren Davis were enlisted for doubles, and they will square off on Sunday against Nastassja Burnett and Alice Mateucci in the fifth rubber.

At the post-draw press conference, the members of the American team expressed elation at having been chosen to participate on behalf of the US. Only one of the players—McHale—has previously represented her country in Fed Cup play and she was designated a captain for her experience.

“Whether I play or not, it’s great to be here”, said Alison Riske.

Mary Jo Fernandez spoke out in support of her designation of McHale as the leader of the team.

“It’s a different experience playing for your country. Christina has been there before. She knows what’s coming her way.”

McHale’s past participation aside, this group is Generation Next. The Americans hope to end an 0-3 slump to the Italians, after beating the Azzuri nine times in a row between 1963-2003.



Saturday, 1:00 p.m.          Singles A:         Christina McHale (USA) vs. Karin Knapp (ITA)

Singles B:         Madison Keys (USA)  vs. Camila Giorgi (ITA)

Sunday, 12:00 p.m.           Singles C:         Madison Keys (USA) vs. Karin Knapp (ITA)

Singles D:        Christina McHale (USA) vs. Camila Giorgi (ITA)

Doubles: Lauren Davis/Alison Riske (USA) vs. Nastassja Burnett/Alice Matteucci(ITA)



Tennis Channel to Broadcast USA-Italy Fed Cup Tie this Weekend


(February. 6, 2014) -Tennis Channel will provide exclusive live coverage of the U.S. Fed Cup team’s first-round competition against Italy in Cleveland this weekend, with comprehensive telecasts Saturday, Feb. 8, and Sunday, Feb. 9.  The battle is a rematch of last year’s first round, when Italy defeated the United States en route to claiming its fourth Fed Cup title.  The contest will feature two singles matches on Saturday, and two singles matches and the doubles match Sunday.  Tennis Channel will carry all matches live, beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday and 12 p.m. ET on Sunday.  In addition to televising the United States-Italy matches each afternoon, Tennis Channel will cover first-round competition between Slovakia and Germany in Bratislava, Slovakia, live each morning.


Brett Haber (@Brett Haber) and Australia’s most victorious women’s doubles player, Rennae Stubbs (@rennaestubbs), will be in Cleveland for Tennis Channel this weekend.  Handling play-by-play and analysis, respectively, the pair and the matches they cover are part of the network’s Center Court telecast.  Based in the channel’s Los Angeles studio, the daylong tennis block will be hosted by announcer Sam Gore (@sambgore) and former players Tracy Austin (@thetracyaustin) and Justin Gimelstob (@justingimelstob).


The action will get underway each morning with Germany-Slovakia Fed Cup coverage at 7 a.m. ET.  Before the U.S. team begins its afternoon play in Cleveland, Gore, Austin and Gimelstob will anchor world-whiparound coverage that takes viewers from Slovakia to men’s ATP events in Montpellier, France; Zagreb, Croatia; Vina del Mar, Chile; and back again.  Similar to the network’s Grand Slam telecasts at the US Open and Wimbledon, Center Court will stay on top of the most exciting matches wherever they take place, connecting all courts via a studio hub.


Subscribers of select Tennis Channel distribution partners can follow the network via computer or mobile device with its Tennis Channel Everywhere app.  Free to all Apple and Android users regardless of whether or not they currently subscribe to Tennis Channel, the app offers a number of features in addition to the network’s televised feed.


Coverage is as follows (subject to change):

Saturday, Feb. 8:

7 a.m. – Live Slovakia v. Germany / ATP Montpellier / ATP Zagreb

1 p.m. – Live Singles #1 United States v. Italy

3 p.m. – Live Singles #2 United States v. Italy


Sunday, Feb. 9:

7 a.m. – Live Slovakia v. Germany / ATP Montpellier / ATP Zagreb / ATP Vina del Mar

12 p.m. – Live Singles #3 United States v. Italy

2 p.m. – Live Singles #4 United States v. Italy

4 p.m. – Live Doubles United States v. Italy


The United States holds a 9-3 advantage over Italy in Fed Cup play.  However, Italy has defeated the United States in their three most recent meetings, last year’s first round and the 2009 and 2010 championships. This weekend’s match up will be a rematch of last year’s opener, in which the Italians beat the Americans 3-2 in Rimini, Italy.  The United States, which leads all nations in Fed Cup titles, has clinched the trophy on 17 occasions, the most recent in 2000.


The U.S. Fed Cup team is captained by retired American tennis star Mary Joe Fernandez, who as a player helped her Fed Cup team win the championship in 1996.  Fed Cup newcomer Madison Keys earned her first win over a top-10 player last year when she defeated World No. 5 Li Na at the Madrid Open. Alison Riske, another Fed Cup newcomer, turned heads at last year’s US Open when she upset former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova before falling to Daniela Hantuchova.  Christina McHale had an impressive third-round performance at the US Open last year before falling to former World No. 1 Ana Ivanovic.  Lauren Davis, who will also make her Fed Cup debut this weekend, achieved her furthest performance at a Grand Slam when she defeated Germany’s Julia Goerges en route to the third round at the 2014 Australian Open.


Italy, Fed Cup winner in 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2013 enters this weekend as defending champion after defeating Russia 4-0 to win the Fed Cup title in 2013.  The team is captained by Corrado Barazzutti and features Karin Knapp, Camila Giorgi, Nastassja Burnett and Alice Matteucci.


Slovakia and Germany are tied in Fed Cup competition with one win apiece.  Slovakia won the most recent meeting in 2003.  In 2013 it fell to eventual runner-up Russia in the semifinals.  The country clinched its only Fed Cup trophy in 2002.  Slovakia is captained by Matej Liptak and features Dominika Cibulkova, Daniela Hantuchova, Magdalena Rybarikova and Jana Cepelova.


US Hopes Youth Will Triumph When They Face Italy in Fed Cup this Weekend

Fed Cup logo

(February 5, 2014) The USA will face Italy for the fourth time in the last six years when both teams meet again in Cleveland this weekend in Fed Cup quarterfinal play.

Neither team will have its “A” team so youth will be served, especially for Team USA. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez named the team last month – Madison Keys (18), Alison Riske (23), Christina McHale (21) and Cleveland native Lauren Davi (20).

“It’s exciting to have young members, new members on the team, said Captain Fernandez to media on Wednesday in a pre-draw news conference.  “Christina (McHale) is our experienced one, the veteran at the prime old age of what, 21?

“And I think Alison is our oldest player at 23.  So you bring a lot of excitement and energy and enthusiasm when it’s your first time.  You get this great experience to play for your country, represent your country.
So those are all pluses.  I don’t really see any negatives.  Obviously not having played under the pressure of Fed Cup before you never know how someone is going to handle it.
“I think that’s a positive regardless because of the experience and the feedback you get in it.  For me’s really it’s all positive.”

“I think this team from Italy, the challenge is that they’re big hitters,” said Fernandez. “They hit the ball hard and they’re aggressive.  Good indoors.  Probably one of their favorite surfaces.”

Team Italy who will be sporting a team of mostly first-timers are up to the challenge.

“I think will be a tough match, very talented match,” said Italy’s captain Corrado Barazzutti.  “They are young team against, so we come here to try hard to win this match and we know that will be difficult.”
“I think it’s pretty clear the future is very bright, and this is an example of it,” Fernandez said of the US squad.  “This group and the group around them has really been really making strides the last few years and working hard to break each category.
“When I started with the Fed Cup as captain five, six years ago I want to say there were only three Americans in the top 100.  I believe we’re at 11 or 12 now.  So everybody is improving and pushing each other.  We’re seeing the results.
“We have different game styles, which is great, and personalities, but it’s very positive.  It’s extremely exciting to be part of and to see the young players grow and develop as people and as players as well.

As the lone member of the Fed Cup team with any Fed Cup experience, Christina McHale offer some advice to her teammates:

“I’ve had some of my best memories and just fun weeks playing Fed Cup, so I’m really excited to be back on the team.
“I think everyone here has come to a Fed Cup before, so I think they already have some experience.
“I mean, I think just, you know, it’s such an honor to play for your country, so just giving it everything you have, which we always do.  I think that’s the best advice.”

Italy beat the US in the first round of Fed Cup last year. Overall, the US has a 9-3 record versus Italy in Fed Cup play. The US has the record for the most Fed Cup titles at 17, while last year’s winners Italy have now won the cup four out of the past eight years.