U.S. ANNOUNCES TEAM
TO PLAY FED CUP VS. NETHERLANDS
Ashley Marshall | January 23, 2018
Serena Williams is set to play her first competitive match in more than a year, when Team USA begins the defense of its Fed Cup crown next month.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion joins seven-time major winner Venus Williams and 2017 Fed Cup champions CoCo Vandeweghe and Lauren Davis on the squad that will face the Netherlands in Asheville, N.C., Feb. 10-11.
U.S. Fed Cup Captain Kathy Rinaldi, who led the team for the first time in 2017 and became the first captain since Marty Riessen in 1986 to win the Fed Cup title in their debut, nominated the Williams sisters and world No. 9 Vandeweghe on Jan. 24, before adding Davis a week later.
Dutch Fed Cup captain Paul Haarhuis announced that world No. 107 Richel Hogenkamp, No. 123 Arantxa Rus, No. 166 Lesley Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs, who is ranked No.
33 in doubles, will compete for The Netherlands.
This marks the first time in two years that either Williams sister has been on the team. The siblings have been on the same Fed Cup team eight times, most recently in 2015. The U.S. has never lost when they have both been named to the squad.
To make the task even harder for the Dutch is the inclusion of Vandeweghe, who made Fed Cup history last year by going 8-0 in singles and doubles play to lead the U.S. team to its 18th Fed Cup championship.
In 2017, Vandeweghe became the first American to win all six Fed Cup singles matches in one year since the World Group format was instituted in 1995. She also became the first player to win eight matches in the same Fed Cup year in more than two decades and only the third player in Fed Cup history to win three rubbers in a Fed Cup final.
World No. 64 Davis rounds out the four-player squad. The 24-year-old, who almost upset top seed and eventual finalist Simona Halep in the third round of the Australian Open in January, was part of the team that won the Fed Cup last year.
Davis made her debut in 2014 and has played in three ties, most recently against the Czech Republic in the 2017 semifinals in Tampa, Fla.
World No. 5 Venus’ most recent Fed Cup appearance was in February 2016 in the World Group II first-round tie against Poland in Hawaii, where she won both of her singles matches. Serena, who gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia in September and has not played a competitive match since the 2017 Australian Open, last played Fed Cup in April 2015, when she won a pair of singles rubbers in an eventual World Group playoff loss to Italy in Brindisi.
The sisters (pictured above) were on the teams that defeated Argentina in Buenos Aires in 2015; Sweden in Delray Beach, Fla., in 2013; and Belarus in Worcester, Mass., in 2012. Before that, they were both on the squad for home ties against Belgium in Delray Beach in 2005 and 2007 – although Serena did not play in the latter of those ties – and a first-round tie against the Czech Republic in Lowell, Mass., in 2003.
That 2003 tie, in which they defeated Daja Bedanova and Eva Birnerova, 6-0, 6-1, after winning all four singles matches earlier in the weekend, also marked the last of three times the sisters played Fed Cup doubles together.
The Williams sisters made their Fed Cup debuts in Ancona, Italy, in the Fed Cup semifinals in July 1999. Venus won her two singles matches, Serena won what proved to be the decisive match to send the U.S. to the final, and the sisters teamed up to win a dead doubles rubber.
Less than two months later, they helped Team USA defeat Russia in the final in Stanford, Calif., again playing doubles together after Venus had won her singles match on Day 1.
The best-of-five-match series against the Netherlands will be played at the U.S. Cellular Center on an indoor hard court, marking the first time that Asheville is hosting Fed Cup.
The U.S. holds a 6-2 head-to-head record over the Netherlands in Fed Cup play. The U.S. last faced the Netherlands in the 1998 World Group first round in Kiawah Island, S.C., sweeping the tie, 5-0. The Americans’ only losses to the Dutch came in 1968 and 1997.
The U.S. Fed Cup team has played in North Carolina on three prior occasions, holding a 2-1 record in the state. The U.S. competed last in North Carolina in 2002, in Charlotte at the Olde Providence Racquet Club. The team also played in Raleigh in 1999 at the Raleigh Racquet Club, as well as in Wilmington in 1995 at Trask Coliseum.
Play begins at 12:30 p.m. ET on both Saturday, Feb. 10, and Sunday, Feb. 11. On Saturday, two singles matches will take place. On Sunday, play will continue with two reverse singles matches and the doubles match. A revised schedule for Sunday may take place if a team clinches in the third or fourth match. Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage.
Limited tickets are still available and may be purchased by visiting www.usta.com/fedcup or by calling 888-334-USTA (8782).
[Ed note: This article was updated on Jan. 31 following the addition of Lauren Davis to the team and the announcement of the Dutch roster.]