Canadian Fed-Cup Team to take on Brazil
Fed Cup team set to take on Brazil
Canada’s highest ranked female players, Torontonians
Maureen Drake and Vanessa Webb, Marie-Ève Pelletier of Repentigny, Que., and Jana Nejedly, a resident of Palm Springs, Calif., will lead the Canadian Fed Cup team – the female equivalent of Davis Cup – as it heads to Campinas, Brazil April 23-26 for the Americas Group I Qualifying
round robin, Tennis Canada announced Thursday.
Former WTA star Rene Simpson makes her third appearance as Team Captain, while former Jamaican Davis Cup star Karl Hale of Toronto debuts as Coach.
After finishing in the top two at the same event one year ago, the Canadian team advanced to a World Group Play-off against the Czech Republic last July. Playing on the road, the Canadians fell 5-0 and were forced to return to Group I for 2003. Canada now seeks to return to the World Group for the first time since 1994.
"We have a really solid team again this year, with four of our players ranked in the top 200," said Simpson. "Everyone is playing really well right now and after our loss to the Czech Republic in the World Group Play-off last July, the team is even more determined to get back to the world group."
Drake, Canada’s No.1 player and member of the Fed Cup team since 1991, made her playing debut last year, posting a 4-1 singles record. A 12-year veteran of the pro tour, Drake was named Female Player of the Year by Tennis Canada for 2002. She enjoyed a career season during which she advanced to the third round of Wimbledon and picked up one ITF
Webb captured her first ITF title of the year last week in Mexico. A member of the Fed Cup team since 2000, the Duke graduate is currently ranked second in the country at No.127 on the WTA Tour. Winner of the Tennis Canada Excellence Award for Female Doubles Player of the Year in
2002, Webb is the top doubles player in the country at No.130 on the pro tour.
Pelletier, No. 149 on the WTA Tour, made her Fed cup playing debut last year in Canada’s World Group Play-off with the Czech Republic. Despite losing two close singles matches, Simpson called the youngster "the highlight of the weekend". Pelletier, 20, was named to the team for the
first time in 2001.
Nejedly, who recently picked up two consecutive titles on the USTA circuit, has been a member of the Fed Cup team since 1995. With an impressive 15-6 singles record, Nejedly holds a Canadian record for most singles victories in Fed Cup competition. She has only dropped two matches since 1998.
This year’s Canadian Fed Cup team joins the Bahamas, Brazil, Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico and Uruguay in the round robin. The countries will be divided into two pools – one with three teams and the other with four – with the top two teams from each pool advancing to a playoff round on Saturday, April 26. The two winners on the final day proceed to the World Group Playoffs to be played on a home-and-away basis from July 19-20, 2003.