Fed Cup lost its value around 2 decades ago; who can blame the players? The whole system needs a complete rehaul - the ITF really lack innovation & long term planning in this case. Rather than trying to fit it in aroundo WTA calendar they could be looking at utilising a week during the off season and turn it into a week long event.
The situation is quite a mess, apparently Randpere (Kanepi's agent) actually requested 140000 Euros (the amount she pays her coach) for a year of Tallink Sponsorship (which is conditional on playing Fed Cup). She refused an earlier 50000 Euro deal. No one except Kaia and maybe her agent knows how sick she really is. Kanepi was definitely sick in Brisbane and AO, so arguably still is, but the reality is she probably would have played in the team if they reached a financial deal. Based on what's been said from both sides, I think I agree with the Fed Cup Captain Märten Tamla, especially given what he says in this article.
In other countries, like France and Italy for example, if one refuses to play Fed Cup for free can be fined, at the sole discretion of the local federation, with something between 10 000 and 30 000 Euro.
Would the €100k (or €50k) contract have covered just the Euro-Africa zone ties, or would it also have committed her to play whenever needed this year - ie in a possible play-off in an unknown location and on an unknown surface in April?
€50k would seem like a good paycheck for a few days against poor competition in her hometown. Maybe less generous if it commits her to a trip that might not fit her schedule.
Anyway ... I think there are are only few countries whose players ultimately care about Fed Cup (like Czech Republic). Maybe if players were more committed then more people would watch Fed Cup regularly (including me).