SERENA AND VENUS:
HISTORY AT THE FED CUP
Ashley Marshall | February 8, 2018
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Serena Williams will play her first Fed Cup tie in almost three years, and sister Venus will suit up for the first time since 2016, as the U.S. prepares to begin the defense of its title this weekend.
The sisters are on the team together for the eighth time in their careers and for the first time since a win over Argentina exactly three years ago.
The U.S. has never lost a Fed Cup tie when both sisters were on the team, and captain Kathy Rinaldi's squad enters the World Group first-round tie against The Netherlands as heavy favorites.
Serena (pictured above) owns a perfect 13-0 Fed Cup singles record and, along with Martina Navratilova, is one of only two players in U.S. Fed Cup history to win double-digit singles matches without suffering a defeat.
Venus, meanwhile, has a 19-2 individual record and 23-4 combined mark, with her 19 wins the fourth most of any American player in Fed Cup history. ADVERTISEMENT Only Chris Evert (40), Billie Jean King (26) and Lindsay Davenport (26) have more.
In addition, by playing in 2018, Venus becomes just the second American to represent the U.S. in Fed Cup in 10 different years, joining Davenport, who played in 20 ties over 11 years.
At Wednesday's pre-draw press conference, Rinaldi praised Serena's love for representing the U.S. and said she was impressed by how quickly she has been able to return after the birth of her first child, Alexis Olympia, in September.
"Serena's just coming back. She played an exhibition in January, and it's incredible," Rinaldi said. "It's a quick turnaround after having her first child. She's very professional, and she has a lot of pride playing for her country. She'll be ready to go."
Dutch captain Paul Haarhuis said Serena's 13-month break from competitive action was not an advantage for Team USA, but he recognized that the U.S. enters as favorites.
"If you look at Serena, how often does she lose to someone that's not ranked in the Top 10 or Top 20 or outside the Top 100? The odds are not good, but we do believe that it's possible. We're the underdog by far. That won't change if they bring in five new players – we're still the underdog. But we still have to believe that it can be possible.
"It might be the biggest upset in U.S. tennis history, but we're going for it. It's going to be tough. Obviously, it's a tough challenge we're facing."
Here's a timeline of the Williams sisters representing the U.S. in Fed Cup:
1999: Serena and Venus make their Fed Cup debuts for Team USA, helping captain Billie Jean King's team defeat Italy on the red clay of Ancona. Venus won both of her singles matches, Serena won her singles match on Sunday, and the sisters teamed up to win a dead rubber. Two months later, the Williams sisters were instrumental in helping the U.S. defeat Russia in the final in Stanford, Calif., with Venus winning a singles match on Day 1 and the siblings winning the doubles rubber.
2003: Playing against the Czech Republic in the World Group first round, the Williams sisters combine to win all five matches in a clean 5-0 sweep. In 10 sets, the sisters lost a total of 17 games, but they did not play the remaining three ties of the year, including the championship loss to France in Moscow.
2004: Venus wins two singles matches against Slovenia, but neither sister played in the following tie, a 4-1 loss to Austria in Innsbruck.
2005: Venus picks up two singles wins against Belgium in the quarterfinals and one more in the semifinal loss to Russia. Serena was nominated to the U.S. team that swept Belgium, but she did not play.
2007: The sisters win three of Team USA's five matches in a victory over Belgium in Delray Beach, Fla. Venus earns a pair of singles victories against Russia in the semifinals, played in Stowe, Vt., but she dropped a decisive doubles rubber with Lisa Raymond.
2012: The Williams sisters suit up for the U.S. Fed Cup team for the first time in four-and-a-half years to help captain Mary Joe Fernandez's team beat Belarus in a World Group II first-round tie in Worcester, Mass. Serena played in the World Group I playoff against Ukraine two months later, winning both singles matches, including the tie-clinching third rubber, to get the U.S. back into the World Group for 2013.
2013: Serena wins two World Group playoff singles matches against Sweden, and Venus clinches the tie on Day 2 in Delray Beach.
2015: Venus and Serena win a trio of singles matches in Buenos Aires to lead the U.S. to a 4-1 victory over Argentina in the 2015 World Group II first round. Serena returns to play the playoff in Brindisi, Italy, winning both of her singles matches but falling in the decisive doubles match with Alison Riske.
2016: Venus claims two singles victories to pace Team USA in a 4-0 sweep of Poland at the Holua Tennis Center in Kailua Kona, Hawaii.