U.S. Fed Cup Team Complete as Seles, Shaughnessy, Raymond Join Venus Williams
Photo by Art Seitz By Andre Christopher
Monica Seles, who has been, perhaps, the most dependable player for the U.S. Fed Cup team since making her debut in the 1996 Fed Cup semifinals against Japan, is being called upon again to help her adopted homeland, this time in the Fed Cup quarterfinals against Italy, July 19-20 in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Fed Cup captain Billie Jean King and the United States Tennis Association have chosen Seles, Meghann Shaughnessy and Lisa Raymond to join Venus Williams on the team that will play a still-to-be-determined Italian team at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center.
Seles, ranked No. 18, is expected to be the U.S. No. 2 in this best-of-five-matches series. Remarkably, Seles, who never played Fed Cup for her native Yugoslavia, has been a member of 11 of the 13 U.S. Fed Cup teams named since her 1996 debut.
This Fed Cup quarterfinal will be Seles’s first competition since Roland Garros, where she lost in the first round to eventual-semifinalist Nadia Petrova. Seles, whose career Fed Cup record is 17-2 (15-2 in singles), withdrew from Wimbledon because of a left foot injury that has plagued her all year.
Shaughnessy and Raymond are the likely U.S. doubles team for this tie. In their only previous pairing for the United States, they defeated Israel’s Tzipora Obziler and Hila Rosen in last year’s Fed Cup World Group playoffs.
Italian captain Corrado Barazzutti has not named his team and has until July 9 to do so. Antonella Serra Zanetti, Flavia Pennetta, Roberta Vinci and Mara Santangelo represented Italy in a 3-2 first round victory against Sweden. The United States has never lost to Italy in eight previous Fed Cup encounters, and the Italian team that defeated Sweden would not likely pose a threat to this U.S. team. But if top-ranked Italians Silvia Farina Elia and Francesca Schiavone were to make themselves available for this tie, Italy’s chances would improve considerably.
Tickets for this tie are now on sale and can be purchased by calling 1-888-334-USTA (8782) or through Ticketmaster (202-432-SEAT or www.ticketmaster.com
). Ticket prices range from $75 to $220 for two-day packages.
With Seles joining Williams on the U.S. team, this tie against Italy is shaping up to be a rematch of their 1999 semifinal in almost as true a sense as is possible in international team tennis, a forum that can see team members change from round to round. When the two teams met in Ancona, Italy, in 1999, Williams and Seles were the U.S. Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. Seles, in fact, suffered her first Fed Cup defeat, falling to Farina Elia, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Seles, suffering from tendinitis in her right hand, was replaced by Serena Williams on the event’s second day, and the United States went on to a 4-1 victory.
Other commitments prevent Serena Williams from being on this team.
Seles’s injury problems this year increase the possibility that Shaughnessy could have a crucial role in helping the United States advance to the 2003 Fed Cup semifinals, to be played the week of Nov. 17. Shaughnessy made her Fed Cup debut last year in the United States’ shocking loss to Austria in Charlotte, N.C.