Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: in Cloud Cuckoo Land
Cervanova to get Slovak Defence of the Cup Underway in Ettenheim
The largest theme park in Europe played host this afternoon to the largest international team competition in women’s sport, as the draw for the first round Fed Cup tie between Germany and the Slovak Republic got underway in Ettenheim.
Held in the magical surroundings of the “Europa Park”, DTB Vice President Rolf Schmid got proceedings underway, introducing the packed conference hall to the two teams and their respective captains. With pleasantries over, proceedings were passed to ITF Referee Alan Mills who, with the help of the theme park’s famous “Europa Maus”, conducted the draw.
Newly-appointed German captain Klaus Eberhard nominated Anca Barna and Marlene Weingartner as his two singles players, with Slovak Captain Tomas Malik naming Daniela Hantuchova and Ludmila Cervanova. In the doubles rubber on Sunday, Barbara Rittner, who today celebrated her 30th birthday, will team with Marlene Weingartner to take on Fed Cup debutants Eva Fislova and Lubomira Kurhajcova.
Cervanova replaces the injured Henrieta Nagyova as the Slovak Republic’s second singles player in what will be only her second Fed Cup tie. Her last Fed Cup appearance was in the 1999 semifinal against Russia in Moscow when she narrowly lost to Elena Likhovtseva and Tatiana Panova in both of her singles rubbers. She will now lead the Slovak Republic’s 2003 Fed Cup campaign and defence of their 2002 crown, as she faces Germany’s number one player, Anca Barna, in the first of tomorrow’s singles rubbers.
Despite her lack of singles success in the Fed Cup, Cervanova nonetheless enters tomorrow’s match with the confidence-boosting knowledge that she comprehensively defeated Barna 60 61 in the 1999 $75,000 ITF Women’s Circuit event in Poitiers - their only previous on-court encounter. She now looks forward to taking on the responsibility of leading her team’s campaign in Ettenheim.
“I am very happy to have been selected for the team and am confident about tomorrow’s match.”
In the second of Saturday’s singles rubbers, World No. 79 Marlene Weingartner will face the daunting prospect of taking on the World No. 9 Daniela Hantuchova. This will be the first time the two players have met on court and will no doubt prove a fascinating contest.
These two great tennis nations have only met on one prior occasion, back in the 1994 World Group quarterfinals, held in Frankfurt. Although Germany won that tie, the Slovak team are on scintillating form and currently hold a four-match winning streak in Fed Cup competition.
If the Germans are to knock out the 2002 Fed Cup Champions they will have to play some very competitive tennis, as they face not only a talented but also, and perhaps more importantly, a confident Slovak contingent. Although three of the Slovak players from last year’s final are not here in Ettenheim, Tomas Malik is nonetheless very positive about this weekend’s matches.
He commented after the draw: “We are not as strong as we could be, but we are still confident and have a very good team here this week.”
Play commences tomorrow at 13:00 local time (11:00 GMT).