Serena Williams was undefeated for the U.S. Fed Cup team in 2013.
© Ron Angle
By Erin Bruehl, USTA.com
Same event. Same opponent. Same round. New location.
For the second consecutive year, the U.S. Fed Cup team will face defending champion Italy in the first round of the annual Fed Cup competition, but in 2014 it will be in a new venue.
Cleveland was selected to host the 2014 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas First Round between the U.S. and Italy, with the tie being held at the Public Auditorium, Feb. 8-9. This will be the first time Ohio has ever hosted Fed Cup, though the state hosted 10 Davis Cup ties between 1960 and 1979. The Public Auditorium is no stranger to tennis competition, either, having hosted the 1973 Davis Cup Final, where the U.S. lost to Australia.
U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez and her family currently reside in Cleveland, and she said she could not be happier to see the competition come to town as the U.S. looks to win a record 18th Fed Cup title – and first since 2000.
“I am thrilled that Fed Cup is headed to Cleveland for the first time,” said Fernandez. “Italy is a tough team with a strong record in Fed Cup, and playing them is always challenging and exciting for us. Living in Cleveland, I am happy that Ohio will get to see some high-quality tennis, and I expect tennis fans to fill the stands to cheer on Team USA.”
“The City of Cleveland is proud to host the 2014 Fed Cup between the U.S. and Italy,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “Cleveland has a rich history of hosting sporting events of this caliber and we are certain that the USTA, the athletes and spectators will have an outstanding experience at the event and around our great city.”
Italy, which has won four Fed Cup championships since 2006, recently defeated Russia, 4-0, in the 2013 finale. The Italians defeated the Americans, 3-2, in the 2013 first round in Rimini, Italy, and topped 2011-12 champion Czech Republic in the semifinals.
After falling to Italy in the opening round, the U.S. – behind wins from Serena and Venus Williams – defeated Sweden in a World Group Play-off in Delray Beach, Fla., to retain its status in the prestigious World Group for 2014. Overall, the U.S. is 37-4 all-time in Fed Cup ties at home.
Overall, the U.S. leads its matchup with Italy, 9-3, but the Italians have won the last three meetings, including the 2009 and 2010 Fed Cup finals. Players for this tie will be named no later than 10 days prior to the start of the competition.
Tickets for the best-of-five match series will go on sale Dec. 6 with a USTA Member presale beginning Dec. 4.