Nicole Pratt Withdraws From Aussie Team -

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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 17th, 2002, 09:04 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Nicole Pratt Withdraws From Aussie Team

From the tennisaustralia site...

Pratt out of Fed Cup Play-Off
Wednesday, 17 July, 2002

WOLLONGONG -Optus Australian Fed Cup Captain Evonne Goolagong Cawley today announced that due to an injured left foot, Australia's Nicole Pratt is unable to play in this weekend's Fed Cup Tie against the Netherlands in Wollongong.

Twenty-year-old Christina Wheeler [currently ranked 177 in singles] will replace Pratt in the Optus Australian Fed Cup Team. Other team members include Alicia Molik [71], Evie Dominikovic [107] and Rennae Stubbs [ranked 2 in doubles].

For the past nine months Pratt has suffered chronic inflammation in her left plantar ligament. After withdrawing from the doubles and the mixed at Wimbledon she returned to Melbourne to seek treatment and while currently unable to play, she will be attending the Tie at WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong to support the Team's campaign to remain in the World Group.

"I'm disappointed for Nicole because she really wanted to play here and has made every effort to be prepared but unfortunately her injury just won't allow it," Goolagong Cawley said.

"Christina has willingly stepped in to fill the gap and I'm pleased for her to have the opportunity to represent her country."

"It's going to be a close Tie as the Netherlands have some strong players and we are going to have to be at the top of our game to win. But playing well is something I am confident the girls will do this weekend."

Remarking on her inclusion into the team, Christina Wheeler said, "I'm really excited. It's great to be here and I can't wait."

After commencing practice at the start of this week, Fed Cup stalwart Rennae Stubbs is pleased with the indoor hardcourt plexipave surface. "The surface is great," Stubbs said. "It suits our girls and the court is quite slow allowing for high bounces. I'm looking forward to playing in front of a homecrowd again."

Meanwhile, both Alicia Molik and Evie Dominikovic are drawing on recent Grand Slam experiences of playing high-pressure matches against top players to help improve their games.

"It was a great experience for me to play on centre court at Wimbledon against Serena Williams," Dominikovic said. "It is something I have learned a lot from and I'm going to take what I've learned into every match I play now. I'm pretty excited about this weekend."

Molik narrowly lost to two-time Grand Slam champion Mary Pierce at this year's Wimbledon in a tight three-set match. "I'm definitely going to apply the positives I learned at Wimbledon to all my future matches. Years go by and you gradually get more experience and when I go back to Wimbledon next year I know I'll be able to put it all together."

The Dutch team contesting this weekend's Fed Cup battle for inclusion in the elite 16-nation World Group in 2003 includes Miriam Oremans [99 in singles], Kristie Boogert [158], Marielle Hoogland [271] and 16-year-old Silvana Bauer [currently no WTA ranking].

The draw to confirm the order of play and which players will compete will be conducted at the WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong at 11am this Friday 17 July. Media conferences for both teams will follow directly.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 17th, 2002, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
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Poor Nicole

All of a sudden, things are a lot tougher...Alicia and Evie are now set to carry the team, and if there is a time to stand up and be counted it is NOW.

Alicia has Fed Cup experience but isnt in the best of form...and despite being a team member throughout last year, Evie is yet to play. In comparison, Miriam Oremans and Kristie Boogert have a ton of Fed Cup experience.

Nicole's withdrawal will hurt, but we are still capable of winning. This one's going to be a tough one!
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 17th, 2002, 06:46 PM
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Terrible news, Terry

This will no doubt make the task doubly difficult on enemy turf but it will be a good challenge especially for youngsters Evie and Christina. I haven't had a chance to catch Evie yet but I saw Christina play doubles in Paris and she impressed. Do you know if she'll be teaming with Rennae?
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 18th, 2002, 03:20 AM Thread Starter
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Ed, we're on home turf! So I guess we have the advantage there

Christina is an excellent doubles player with a top 100 doubles ranking, so I assume she is teaming up with Rennae. Alicia's doubles ranking is around the same as Christina's whilst Evie's is top 60 I think...but I personally think Christina is a better doubles player than both of them, so hopefully Evonne puts her in.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 18th, 2002, 07:03 AM
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i saw Nicole out there helping the girls today...keeping the team spirits up and putting effort in even tho shes injured!

she s atrue asset to the team, a fantastic record in fed cup and great commitment!! too bad shes out..

anyway Christina is playing some very good ball...she seems to be in top form and if she plays like that id say it would even be viable to put her in singles too, but her rank is a bit low at 177

Good luck to the Aussie and Balkan girls!
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 18th, 2002, 01:43 PM
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I'm doubly nervous about this tie now!!!! I'm sure Nicole's foot must need amputating if she's withdrawing.

However very excited about Evies debut, even tho I thought at the end of year finals in 2001 she should've been blooded in singles after we lost out first two matches. Even tho the heirarchy has changed, we now have to throw her in the deep end.

Pressure is on Alicia to stand up. After each close match she loses, she always seems to say that she's gaining experience, learning and it's only a matter of time b4 things come together. However these excuses won't wash this weekend and we need a big effort from her.

I think the doubles will come down to how Alicia is playing. If she wins one or two of her singles I expect her in the doubles, if not, then Christina may get the nod. Even tho Alicia and Rennaes record is something like 0-3 in Fed Cup.

There's more to life than just being happy.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 18th, 2002, 05:26 PM
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I am angry at you Aussies who think Alicias form is bad. Sure she hasnt been winning matches but she was hitting the ball better than I have seen her before.

Sure she lost two close matches at French and Wimbledon but she played ten times better in them than at the Australian Open. Her backhand was a lot better, she has worked on her fitness and mental game and that showed. She was down 5/1 against Pierce in the 3rd and fought back hard and in the end Pierce got lucky.

You can say she has trouble closing out matches but her last two grand slam draws were tough matches for her. Loit on clay here best surface at home is not a cakewalk, neither is Pierce as a firey underdog.

I feel quietly confident that Alicia will be able to pull out the big guns, shes been back in Australia for nearly two weeks training hard in Adelaide getting ready for this tie. Like against Austria she will be ready and totally prepared!

As for Evie or Christina, tough call, Evie is better on slower surfaces as is Christina. I think its Evies turn though!

SM I want full reports of the singles matches hehe, you are lucky to be goin!

Im stuck in Budapest trying to get a visa to Prague, dont think I will be seeing any tennis for a week or two.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 19th, 2002, 02:53 AM
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hey ausboy.

Im just going off current form, cos with a game like Alicias it tends to be volatile...and yesterday Christina seemed to have beaten her in practice, and displayed some good tennis! Alicia has the experience, so evenwithout her best form im sure if she serves well shell get thru it

Good luck to the Aussie and Balkan girls!
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 19th, 2002, 04:09 AM Thread Starter
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Hey I neve said she was in bad form

Just 'not in the best' of form (which was my assumption judging by the results, but you had first hand experience of seeing her play, so I trust your judgment!)...anyway Im totally behind her here, now is her chance to step it up

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 19th, 2002, 07:14 AM
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Poor Nicole!

But I am still confident Australia can win!

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 19th, 2002, 08:24 AM
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Ok, I do feel sorry for Nicole, but our chances improved

Lets go Miriam and Kristie!

What would you say if we could make
something amazing
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 19th, 2002, 01:02 PM
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How rude of you
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