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Germany feels as outsiders who yet have chances to win the Fed Cup

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TENNIS FED CUP – Alongside Stefanie Graf, Barbara Rittner and Anke Huber were members of the last German team to claim the Fed Cup 22 years ago. Rittner and Huber talked about their memories of 1992 and the chances for 2014 when interviewed recently.

Alongside Stefanie Graf, Barbara Rittner and Anke Huber were members of the last German team to claim the Fed Cup 22 years ago. Anke Huber is now the Operating Tournament Director of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart and Barbara Rittner is the captain of Porsche Team Germany which will be attempting to win back the Fed Cup title for Germany in the final against the Czech Republic in Prague Mid-November 2014. They jointly talked about their memories of 1992 and the chances for 2014 when interviewed recently.

What memories do you have of winning the Fed Cup in 1992 when you, together with Steffi Graf, beat Spain in Frankfurt?

Barbara Rittner: “Winning the title at home in a team with Steffi and Anke was something special but I do feel we could have celebrated a bit more intensively. What do you think Anke?”

Anke Huber: “Partywise, we weren’t quite in the same class as your girls. But I was only 17 at the time. For me it was a big experience to play for Germany and to win the title.”

Back then, people thought you only had an outside chance of winning. How do you see the chances for Prague?

Barbara Rittner: “I see us as being the outsiders again. The Czech team is incredibly strong and play consistently at the highest level. They recently won the Fed Cup in 2011 and 2012. It says a lot about the strength of their team.”

Anke Huber: “I also feel the hosts will go into the finals as favourites. But I think our girls definitely have the games to match the Czechs and in the end it will depend on who plays better on the day. The question is also how will the Czechs deal with the pressure of playing in front of their home crowd? Playing at home is not always automatically an advantage.”

Were you so closely knit in 1992 as the current Porsche Team Germany?

Anke Huber: “In our day, it wasn’t possible to develop such a team spirit. Back then the Fed Cup was played over a week at a single venue. It meant the team was only together for two weeks in a year – one week preparing and one week competing.”

Barbara Rittner: “Today’s players have known each since their juniors days and have spent far more time together at training camps and tournaments than we ever did. Anke and I grew up together. Steffi on the other hand was a little older than us, so we didn’t do things together as juniors.”

Anke Huber: “On top of that Steffi mainly practiced alone and was also more of a loner.”

Barbara Rittner: “…who was also a fantastic team member.”

Anke Huber: “Definitely. When we were on court, we always did things as a team and cheered and supported each other.”

Was the importance of women’s tennis and the Fed Cup back then as big as it is these days?

Barbara Rittner: “They were different times. As a result of the many successes of Steffi and Anke and naturally Boris Becker and Michael Stich, tennis was on everybody’s lips. Tennis was televised almost every day on TV. It meant that the importance of the Fed Cup was also automatically high even though we didn’t get quite the attention as they do today.”

Anke Huber: “The Fed Cup has become far more important since then and is in the limelight far more. I have the impression that the players’ attitudes have changed over the years. It’s obvious for all to see that they love representing their country as a team and being successful together. Porsche Team Germany is the best example of that.”

How important was the Fed Cup win in 1992 for you as players? Barbara, how are you feeling 22 years later with the chance of capturing the title as the team captain?

Anke Huber: “As I said previously, I was 17 at the time and probably wasn’t really able to fully realize the importance of the success. Looking back, I have to say that the Fed Cup title was something quite special and an important milestone in my career.”

Barbara Rittner: “The title was very important for my career at the time and not just when looking back. After all I was a member of the world’s best tennis team – it was something quite special. That I now have the chance to win the title as the team captain makes me proud and shows me that my work is bearing fruit.”

There are only a few days to go to the final. To what extent is the tension increasing?

Barbara Rittner: “I’m slowly getting nervous. When falling asleep at night, I daren’t think about the final too much otherwise I’d get too uptight which wouldn’t be good. But the great anticipation ahead of the final outweighs everything.”

Which strengths of the Porsche Team Germany players are you putting your faith in most of all against the strong Czechs?”

Barbara Rittner: “I’m putting my faith above all in the performances that my players have already served up in the Fed Cup. And naturally our team spirit. It can move mountains.”

Anke Huber: “I believe we can win. One shouldn’t however forget that getting to the final alone is a great success for Porsche Team Germany in itself. And the girls can crown it all by winning the title. The interest in German women’s tennis hasn’t been as big as it is now for a long time. A win in Prague would further increase people’s awareness and would also be a big incentive and enormous motivation for younger players like those in the Porsche Talent Team Germany.”

What does Porsche Team Germany have to do to win the title?

Anke Huber: “On the day everything has to be perfect. No matter what happened before – the players have to switch on and be prepared for everything. Only then can they be successful against such strong opponents.”

Barbara Rittner: “The players have to feel they’re well-prepared, also in respect of the electric atmosphere in the hall, so that they to call upon their best tennis. We have to do everything to enjoy the weekend despite the stress and tension. Then everything is possible.”

Fed Cup

Copper Box Arena To Host Historic Fed Cup Tie Against Kazakhstan

Great Britain will host Kazakhstan in the Copper Box Arena in April in their World Group II Play-Off tie.

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(@FedCup - Twitter)

The Copper Box Arena will host Great Britain’s historic Fed Cup World Group II tie against Kazakhstan in April. 

The venue was announced on Thursday afternoon as Great Britain prepare for a historic World Group II tie against Kazakhstan in April.

The Copper Box Arena hosted some Olympic events in 2012 and has a capacity of 5,800 as Great Britain look to build on the momentum they picked up in Bath in February.

It is located in Hackney, London not too far from where Great Britain’s Fed Cup captain, Anne Keothavong, grew up and has stated the importance of April’s tie, “It’s very special to come back to my home borough of Hackney,” she said at a visit to Clapton Girls Academy.

“Having grown up and started playing tennis here, I never dreamt that one day I would be coming back and leading the British team in what is the world cup of women’s team tennis.

“Looking ahead to April, words can’t describe the sense of anticipation we are going to have playing our first World Group play-off at home. 

“Home support makes such a massive difference in sport and we saw the impact the GB fans had in getting the team over the line in Bath recently.”

The tie is set to be Great Britain’s first home-and-away home tie for 28 years and Keothavong is looking for a big home support on Easter weekend, “For the fans, I’m hoping that seeing our players perform with all they have got will inspire the next generation of kids to get out there and get involved with tennis.”

The tie will take place on the weekend of the 20th and 21st of April with tickets expected to be priced at around £12. This match is expected to be close with not much separating the four singles players involved.

 

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Fed Cup

Fed Cup Draws: Great Britain Get Second Home Tie In Two Months, Czechs Look To Bounce Back

Great Britain will have another home tie as they face Kazakhstan in April’s World Group II Play-Offs

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Johanna Konta (@SkySportsTennis - Twitter)

After waiting 26 years for a home tie, Great Britain will have a second tie in two months as they face Kazakhstan in April’s World Group II Play-Offs. 

After hosting some Zone Group I Europe/Africa action in Bath and successfully qualifying for the World Group II Play-Offs, Great Britain have been handed another home tie.

The Brits will face Kazakhstan in April with the winners getting promoted to the second tier of women’s team tennis, a historic occasion for both nation.

This tie along with the other World Group II and World Group play-off ties will take place on Easter weekend between the 20th and 21st of April.

After finding out the news GB Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong said she is ready for a raucous atmosphere in April, “We saw the fantastic atmosphere home fans create and the role they play in lifting our players beyond their limits.”

There is strong rumour that the tie could be played at the Copper Box Arena in London although that will be confirmed next week.

Meanwhile the pick of the other ties sees a strong Russia team host Italy while either the Netherlands or Japan face relegation to Zone Group I.

Czechs Look To Bounce Back. 

In the World Group Play-Offs draw the Czech Republic were handed an easy home tie to Canada as they face unchartered territory in April.

The defending champions will play their first play-off tie since losing 3-2 to Romania in an exhilarating tie in Ostrava which was their first defeat on home soil for ten years.

While the other 2018 Fed Cup finalists USA will host Switzerland and Latvia host Germany in a historic tie for the hosts as they look to make the World Group for the first time in their history.

Here is the full World Group and World Group II Play-Offs draw with the ties taking place on the 20th/21st of April:

*Home teams are first

World Group Play-Offs

Czech Republic v Canada

USA v Switzerland

Latvia v Germany

Belgium v Spain

World Group II Play-Offs

Russia v Italy

Japan v Netherlands

Great Britain v Kazakhstan

Slovakia v Brazil

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Fed Cup

Simona Halep Vows To ‘Give Her All’ In Fed Cup Following Shock Win For Romania

The former world No.1 has her eyes set on winning the team competition this year.

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Simona Halep cheering on Romania in their Fed Cup clash with The Czech Republic (image via ubitennis.com)

Reigning French Open champion Simona Halep has pledged to fully commit herself to the Fed Cup after helping guide Romania to a shock win over the weekend.

Halep recorded wins over Katerina Siniakova and Karolina Pliskova during her country’s surprise 3-2 win over heavyweights the Czech Republic. A team who has won the title in six of the past eight years of the competition. The deciding win was clinched in the doubles when Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu defeated Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-4 in a match that lasted just under three hours.

“It was my biggest and best win in the Fed Cup and to win both rubbers against the Czech Republic means a lot to me because they have such a big history in this competition,” Halep told reporters following her win over Pliskova.

Romania now finds themselves in the semifinals of the competition for the first time since 1973. Last year the team defeated Canada in Group II and then won their play-off tie against Switzerland to graduate to the top tier of the competition. They have a winning 6-3 record in the Fed Cup since 2015.

Reflecting on the latest triumph, Halep believes it will help inspire the next generation of players in her home country. During an interview with Telekom Sport on Sunday, the former world No.1 say she will ‘give her all’ to the team this year.

“It was a very tensed match, it was even harder in the stands. I was very nervous. Monica asked me before if I want to get in court, but I told her she is better.” The Romanian Journal quoted Halep as saying.
“We all made a huge effort for this game. We played against a big champion, Czech Republic. the girls are extraordinary, they left their heart on the court, so they managed to win.
“As I said before, this year I am giving all for the Fed Cup team. It is a huge step for us, for our country. The little ones who start playing tennis can trust us. This Fed Cup means something.”

Hoping to reach the final for the first time in history, Romania will take on France in the semi-finals in April. A country they last played back in 1976 at the Spectrum Stadium in Philadelphia, America. France defeated Belgium 3-1 in their quarter-final tie.

The semi-final tie will be held in France at a yet to be confirmed venue. In the other semi-final, Australia will take on Belarus.

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