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Team WTAworld, Administrator, aka Nibbler
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By Richard Pagliaro - Five of the top 10 women in the world are American, but four of them have declined to represent the United States in the Fed Cup final. Tennis Week has learned that top-ranked Jennifer Capriati, third-ranked Lindsay Davenport, fourth-ranked Venus Williams and ninth-ranked Serena Williams have declined to play the Fed Cup final, which will be staged November 7-11th.

A year ago, the American team of Davenport, Monica Seles, Lisa Raymond and Capriati beat Belgium in the semifinals before sweeping Spain in the final, 5-0, to earn its 17th Fed Cup championship in 38 years. In the final, Capriati teamed with Raymond to defeat the Spanish doubles duo of Virginia Ruano-Pascual and Magui Serna, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Capriati also scored a 6-1, 1-0 victory over Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, who retired with gastroenteritis in the second set.
The Williams sisters did not play Fed Cup last year though they did represent the U.S. at the Olympics where Venus won the gold medal in singles and teamed with sister Serena to strike gold in doubles.

Davenport was been one of the world's dominant Fed Cup players in recent years. The third-ranked Davenport has produced a 21-2 record in her seven-year Fed Cup career and helped carry the team to victory last year with singles wins over Sanchez-Vicario and Conchita Martinez in the final. Sidelined by injuries earlier in the year, Davenport's decision to forgo the final may be due to the fact that the event will most likely be held on red clay — her least favorite surface.

The absence of the foursome leaves U.S. captain Billie Jean King with the prospect of building her team around the resurgent Monica Seles, who captured her third straight title on Sunday with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Australian Nicole Pratt in the final of the Kiwi Open. It was the 51st title of Seles career. The eighth-ranked Seles has always answered the call to play Fed Cup when healthy in the past. In an interview prior to the U.S. Open, Seles was asked if she planned to play Fed Cup and she replied: "I've always loved to play Fed Cup and play for Billie Jean King. It's an honor to play for your country and I would like to play if I were asked."

Meghann Shaughnessy, ranked 12th, could complement Seles as another singles player on the U.S. squad. Though Shaughnessy was upset by Spain's Magui Serna 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Filderstadt, Germany last week, she is enjoying the best year of her career. With a strong serve and effective forehand, Shaughnessy's game is better suited to fast surfaces, but her speed and court coverage make her a capable clay court player.

Raymond, ranked No. 1 in doubles and No. 30 in singles, could reprise her role as a doubles player on the U.S. team. After Raymond, the highest-ranked Americans are Chanda Rubin (No. 36), Amy Frazier (No. 41) and Meileen Tu (No. 49). Rubin has struggled with nagging injuries this year, while Frazier has not participated in Fed Cup in recent years.

[ October 15, 2001: Message edited by: Josh ]
 

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♥ All-American Reject
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OMG!!! Venus and Serena, why?!?! <IMG SRC="smilies/sad.gif" border="0">

this doesn't bode well for our team <IMG SRC="smilies/sad.gif" border="0">
 

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<IMG SRC="smilies/eek.gif" border="0"> <IMG SRC="smilies/freaked.gif" border="0">

I hope Monica can carry the team to victory. I will be shocked if Monica wouldn't play. Raymond/Rubin would be a good doubles team. Frazier did beat ASV at RG this year but that is about all she has done, and Aranxta wasn't playing be best tennis then. Plus, Aranxta plays a different level of tennis when it comes to Fed Cup. Shaughnessy would be the best bet for singles along with Monica.

Go TEAM USA! <IMG SRC="smilies/smile.gif" border="0">
 

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Venus and Serena hardly ever play Fed Cup. It doesn't mean anything to them, except when they had to play to be allowed to participate in the Olympics. <IMG SRC="smilies/redface.gif" border="0">

But I am dismayed about Lindsay!!! I thought she would play. It is so disappointing. I think I wil cheer for France or Spain or Russia, where people care about playing for their country. <IMG SRC="smilies/firey.gif" border="0"> <IMG SRC="smilies/firey.gif" border="0"> <IMG SRC="smilies/firey.gif" border="0">
 

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janie--have Venus and Serena told you personally that they don't care about Fed Cup?

I didn't think so.

It could it be that they were pissed off about the ITF decision to move the events to Spain. Just like all the other top players.
 

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Moon,

No, they have not told me. I have observed over the years that they rarely play. Based on that, I feel it is not a stretch to conclude that they have other priortites.
 

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I agree Janie... as all reasonable people would.

ASV does indeed raise her level for Fed Cup but she also raises it for Roland Garros- and Frazier beat her there.
 

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Janie?

And why would you not cheer for Belgium?

Whith Henin and Clijsters they can finally grab that title
 

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Well I have to say that given these developments I would think the team from Belgium has as good a chance as any, if not the best chance of all. Who would be their doubles team, then -- Callens and Courtois? I think the Russian team is too young and inexperienced (Fed Cup is a different animal altogether, IMHO) and Spain is going to miss Conchita sorely.

If I were Billie Jean (ahem!), I would pick Monica and Chanda for singles -- Chanda already has a Fed Cup win over Arantxa on red clay (granted, it was in a meaningless match, but still!) and Chanda is one who tends to raise the level of her game for Fed Cup. Then I would *beg* Lindsay to please just come play doubles with Lisa. With that team, I think the US could win.

[ October 16, 2001: Message edited by: marsha ]
 

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hmm. let's see. both girls played in 99, both girls were injured in 2000, and they have refused to play in 2001 because of the ITF decision. I don't know if they were even asked in 98, certainly Serena wouldn't have been. So by your standards, if they "hardly ever play", they are certainly not alone.

Justin-as for your suggestion, that I am being unreasonable, I couldn't care less. <IMG SRC="smilies/smile.gif" border="0">
 

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Well I kinda hate to even get into this argument, but when I see a blatantly illogical statement, right before me, I gotta say something!

so, moon, just to re-iterate in a slightly different way: have Venus and Serena told you personally that they are not playing Fed Cup because they are pissed off about the ITF decision? I didn't think so!

In your own first post, you yourself said: "It could it be that they were pissed off about the ITF decision..." See? **COULD BE**
But now in your second post you have made it the *for sure* reason -- won't wash, my friend.

And I'm not sure I "bought" their excuses for not playing in the Fed Cup final in Las Vegas last year -- it was very disappointing to a lot of folks there -- I think one of them could have least *tried* to show up.
 

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Marsha, maybe I shouldn't have said "could've", because there have been several articles on yahoo, and any other sports site that have documented that the American players were not happy with the new ITF plans.

As for them "trying" to show up last year, that just goes back to the argument of whether you are in favor of a someone playing injured or not. Venus was advised by her doctor not to play and Serena also was plagued by an injury if I'm not mistaken.
<IMG SRC="smilies/tongue.gif" border="0">
 

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Yawn!

Go USA!!!
 

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If this is all true... then the USA is counting on Monica Seles, Meghann Shaughnessy, and Chanda Rubin?
Their best double team seems to be Raymond/Shaughnessy then.

I think Belgium is favourite then. Belgian fed cup team: Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin for singles. Double team probably Clijsters-Callens, or Henin-Callens. I don't think Courtois will play.
 

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MOON I AGREE WITH YOU.WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE DOWN ON THEIR OWN U.S. PEOPLE.CAN'T WE ALL GET ALONG.
<IMG SRC="smilies/bounce.gif" border="0"> <IMG SRC="smilies/wavey.gif" border="0"> <IMG SRC="smilies/smileyshot.gif" border="0">
 
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