Serena, Kenin, Gauff, Riske, Mattek-Sands
named to U.S. Fed Cup squad
Ashley Marshall | January 28, 2020
Team USA's present will join forces with its future, when champions and veterans suit up alongside rookies and rising starts at Fed Cup next month.
The USTA and U.S. Fed Cup captain Kathy Rinaldi announced that 23-time Grand Slam champion and world No. 9 Serena Williams, No. 15 Sofia Kenin, No. 19 Alison Riske, No. 67 Coco Gauff and former doubles No. 1 Bethanie Mattek-Sands will represent the U.S. in its Fed Cup qualifying tie against Latvia on Feb. 7-8 at Angel Of The Winds Arena in Everett, Wash.
World No. 33 Anasasija Sevastova, No. 45 and 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, No. 263 Diana Marcinkevica and No. 492 Daniela Vismane will represent Latvia for captain Adrians Zguns in the best-of-five-match series, which will be played on a hard court.
The winner of this matchup advances to the 2020 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals, April 14-19, in Budapest, Hungary—a new format for the finals similar to the World Cup, in which 12 nations converge on one venue to compete for the title.ADVERTISEMENT
Williams last played Fed Cup in February 2018 in her competitive return to tennis following the birth of her daughter. She’s 13-0 in singles and 3-2 in doubles over 10 Fed Cup ties played since 1999, when she and sister Venus were a part of the Americans’ Fed Cup title-winning team. Williams won her 73rd career WTA singles title recently in Auckland, New Zealand, before falling in the third round of the Australian Open.
Should Williams win two singles matches, she would equal Martina Navratilova's perfect 15-0 mark.
Joining Williams on the team is 21-year-old Kenin, who will play world No. 1 Ash Barty on Wednesday for a spot in the Australian Open final, former Wimbledon quarterfinalist and 2017 Fed Cup champion Riske, 15-year-old Gauff and nine-time Grand Slam doubles champion Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Like with Riske, Mattek-Sands was part of the 2017 title-winning squad, even though she did not play in the championship match. Riske was nominated to the team to face Belarus but did not play, while Mattek-Sands was recovering from a knee injury sustained at Wimbledon.
Gauff would be the second-youngest American Fed Cup representative ever, after Jennifer Capriati, who made her Fed Cup debut in 1990 at 14 years, four months old and defeated Poland’s Magdalena Mroz, 6-3, 6-1, in the 1990 first round in Atlanta.
Gauff (pictured above at the 2018 Fed Cup tie in Asheville, N.C.) would be the 17th teen to represent Team USA at Fed Cup and the first since teammate Kenin debuted against the Czech Republic in the 2018 final four days before turning 20. She has represented the U.S. at Junior Fed Cup and was invited, along with former junior No. 1 Whitney Osuigwe, to be part of the Team USA contingent at the U.S. Fed Cup tie in Asheville to watch and learn from her peers.
It is somewhat of an inter-generational lineup for Rinaldi, with 38-year-old Williams anchoring a team that also includes 34-year-old Mattek-Sands and 29-year-old Riske.
Williams made her Fed Cup debut as an 18-year-old in a World Group semifinal win over Italy in 1999, when Kenin was just eight months old and almost five full years before Gauff was born. Mattek-Sands, meanwhile, has played 10 ties since debuting in 2010, while Riske has played four ties and been nominated five times since making her Fed Cup debut in 2014, three years before Kenin turned pro.
Play will begin at 7:30 p.m. local time (10:30 p.m. ET) on Friday and 3:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. ET) on Saturday. Friday’s two singles matches will pit each country’s No. 1 player against the other’s No. 2. Saturday will feature the two reverse singles matches—No. 1 vs. No. 1; No. 2 vs. No. 2—followed by a possible fifth-and-decisive doubles match. A revised schedule for Saturday may take place if a team clinches in the third or fourth match.
The matchups and order of play for the weekend’s matches will be determined at the official draw ceremony, which will be held at noon local time on Thursday, Feb. 6, at Angel Of The Winds Arena. Team captains may substitute up to two of their nominated players prior to Thursday’s draw.
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