Open Era’s Most Accomplished Major Singles Champion to Compete
for First Time Since Winning 2017 Australian Open; Joins Sister Venus,
CoCo Vandeweghe and Lauren Davis in Americans’ First Matchup
Since Clinching 18th Fed Cup Title in 2017
Czech Republic Faces Switzerland in Other First-Round Action on
Tennis Channel Plus
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 8, 2018 – Former World No. 1 and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will return to competition for the first time since winning the Australian Open last year, as she competes for the U.S. Fed Cup team on Tennis Channel February 10-11. The network will provide exclusive live coverage of the U.S. Fed Cup team’s first-round competition against the Netherlands in Asheville, North Carolina, this weekend, with telecasts beginning at 1 p.m. ET each day. Serena joins her sister Venus, CoCo Vandeweghe and Lauren Davis as the team competes on American soil for the first time since clinching its record 18th Fed Cup title last November in Minsk, Belarus.
The battle between reigning Fed Cup champions the United States and the Netherlands will consist of two singles matches Saturday, and two singles matches and a doubles match Sunday. The winner of the first-round matchup will advance to the semifinals in April.
Serena, who gave birth in September, took time off for her pregnancy after she won her record Open Era 23rd Grand Slam singles title at last year’s Australian Open. She has completed two “Serena Slams” (four consecutive Grand Slams in a row) in 2002-03 and 2014-15 and sits one title away from matching Margret Court’s career major singles title record.
Both Williams sisters helped the U.S. Fed Cup team win the championship in 1999. Last year, the United States ended its 17-year championship drought when it defeated Belarus 3-2 in the finals. Fed Cup regular Vandeweghe, who advanced to the semifinals at the Australian Open and the US Open, remained undefeated in Fed Cup singles last year and led the United States to its first title since 2000.
In addition to covering the United States-Netherlands matchup this weekend, Tennis Channel Plus will show first-round competition between 2016 Fed Cup champions Czech Republic and Switzerland live in Prague, starting Saturday, Feb. 10, at 7:30 a.m. ET. Among the stars set to play this weekend include2016 US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and five-time doubles Grand Slam champion Lucie Safarova, as well as Swiss star Timea Bacsinszky.
Viewers can also catch first-round Fed Cup matches on-demand on Tennis Channel Plus, the digital subscription service available to everyone in the United States, regardless of whether they currently subscribe to the television network (complete weekend schedule below).
Award-winning announcer Steve Weissman (@Steve_Weissman) will join former U.S. Fed Cup player Chanda Rubin (@Chanda_Rubin) in Asheville to call the United States-Netherlands matches for Tennis Channel. As a player, Rubin competed on the U.S. Fed Cup team in 1995, 1997, 1999, and 2003-2004.
Tennis Channel’s live Fed Cup coverage is as follows (all time ET):
Saturday, Feb. 10:
7:30 a.m. – Singles Czech Republic v. Switzerland (Live on Tennis Channel Plus)
1 p.m. – Singles USA v. Netherlands
Sunday, Feb. 11:
6 a.m. – Singles, Doubles Czech Republic v. Switzerland (Live on Tennis Channel Plus)
1 p.m. – Singles, Doubles USA v. Netherlands
The United States and Netherlands have met eight times in Fed Cup play, with the United States holding a 6-2 advantage. The two countries have not faced each other since 1998, when the United States won 5-0. In 1997, the Netherlands defeated the United States 3-2 in the first round and went on reach the Fed Cup finals. The United States leads all nations with 18 Fed Cup championships.
The U.S. Fed Cup team is captained by retired American tennis star Kathy Rinaldi,who last year lead the Americans to their drought-ending Fed Cup title. Serena Williams will compete at the same event as her sister Venus for the first time since she defeated her at the 2017 Australian Open. Serena Williams also holds four Olympic gold medals, including one in singles and three in doubles with Venus.In October, Venus Williams finished runner-up to current World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki at the WTA Finals in Singapore. Last year Vandeweghe teamed up with Shelby Rogers in the deciding Fed Cup doubles match to defeat Belarus in the finals. Davis enters this weekend’s match after a third-round appearance at the Australian Open before falling to the tournament’s eventual finalist and then-No. 1 Simona Halep.
The Netherlands has finished Fed Cup runner-up on two occasions: 1968 and 1997. The team is captained by Paul Haarhuisand features Richel Hogenkamp, Arantxa Rus, Lesley Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs.