Five Fed Cup fractions
The tennis twitterverse was awoken from its slumber by the nominations for the upcoming Fed Cup semi-finals and play-offs, taking place next weekend at various locations around the globe. The announcements brought to light a few Fed Cup oddities as far as selection goes…
Anabel Medina Garrigues and Spain
It was not long ago that Spain’s female players were talking about boycotting Fed Cup altogether after criticising the Spanish Tennis Federation for not doing enough to promote the female side of the sport. Now, captain Arantxa Sanchez Vicario has caused a bit of hullabaloo by not selecting the Spanish No 1, Anabel Medina Garrigues, the world No 26, because she fears she may ‘disrupt team chemistry.’
“I have not chosen Anabel because she is not at her best, which can be seen in her results, and because it is quite problematic when a player does not get along with other players,” Sanchez-Vicario said. “In Fed Cup you must have good atmosphere, fellowship, and she is not together with the rest of the players on this.”
As reported by tennis.com, Medina Garrigues responded by telling El Pais, “I understand that a captain is free to choose the team she considers, but to personally attack me and smear my image I think is out of line. I always tried to help Spain in the 10 years I’ve been representing it. I get along with some people better than others; that is the law of life. But that does not mean I want to stop playing for Spain.”
Sanchez Vicario later released a statement saying that she had been misunderstood, and that her selection choices were prompted by ‘technical issues.’ Spain take on the Slovak Republic in a World Group play-off tie in Marbella.
Anastasia Rodionova and Australia
In a similar set of circumstances, Anastasia Rodionova has popped off at not being selected to compete in the Australian Fed Cup side which takes on Germany in the World Group play-offs. The Russian-born Australian tweeted “Been number 3 in the country in singles & number 1 in doubles I’m very disappointed not to be selected for the fed cup team.”
Captain Dave Taylor has also selected 20-year-old youngster Olivia Rogowska over veteran Jelena Dokic to compete alongside Sam Stosur, Jarmila Gajdosova and Casey Dellacqua. “It was a difficult decision to choose a team for this tie as we have four girls who are very closely ranked which is a nice problem to have. (We) decided to go with Rogowska as a reward for her big ranking improvement in the past six months,” Taylor said.
Maria Sharapova and Russia
Although she has been present on the sidelines on an intermittent basis, Russia’s best player has competed for the national side only twice during her career, in a grand total of four rubbers. Having won two rubbers on her debut against Israel in 2008, Sharapova didn’t compete again until the 2011 quarter-finals, losing to Virginie Razzano, before returning again for the 2012 quarter-finals in February. But despite defeating Silvia Soler-Espinosa to help Russia into the semi-finals, Sharapova is not returning for the semi-final against Serbia.
Marion Bartoli and France
In another case of a country’s best player not being available to play, Bartoli and the French Tennis Federation are in an ongoing debate about the presence, or absence, to be precise, of her father from the ties. It is the policy of the FFT, as it is with many
federations, not to allow individual coaches to accompany the players. But Bartoli has publicly objected to this, and has thus competed only twice for her country, way back when in 2004. As a result, she will be ineligible to compete in the Olympics at Wimbledon.
Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic
Serbia’s two best players, two former world No 1s, and one of them a grand slam champion, are famously not the best of friends, with both players jostling to share the glory, and the headlines, for Serbia. Despite that though, the two have put aside their differences, by and large, to both put in the Fed Cup miles, Ivanovic competing in 12 ties with an 11-4 win-loss record, Jankovic competing in 28 with a 25-7 win-loss record.
“Obviously it’s the greatest thing, strongest team, and we have a really huge chance if she plays and if we are complete,” Jankovic said. “So it’s not easy not when I play and some of the other girls in the team which are lower ranked, they have to play and we are playing such a tough team, which is Russia, and they’re all the top players there. It’s not gonna be easy.”
Both Serbs have been named in the team to take on Russia in what will be Serbia’s first World Group semi-final.