Venus, Tarpishchev on the bubble for Fed Cup tie
Venus Williams will not be named to the U.S. Fed Cup team on Wednesday, but captain Mary Joe Fernandez is still hoping she can convince Williams to join the team next week, a source told TENNIS.com.
Williams is apparently still recovering from the leg injuries she sustained in reaching the Miami final and said there that while she had hoped to play Fed Cup, she wanted to make sure that she was feeling right physically. Williams hasn’t played a Fed Cup match since 2007.
For the April 24-25 semifinal tie against Russia, in Birmingham, Ala., Fernandez will go with three members of the team that led the U.S. to a victory over France in February—Melanie Oudin, Liezel Huber and Bethanie Mattek-Sands—and, for now at least, teenager Christina McHale. Under ITF rules, a team can change up to two of its selections up to one hour before the April 23 draw.
In related news, sources told TENNIS.com that Russian Fed Cup captain Shamil Tarpischev is having problems getting a visa to enter the United States again. Tarpischev had similar problems in 2007, when the U.S. hosted Russia in Vermont, and barely arrived Stateside it time for the tie. The USTA is working with State Department officials, but said that the decision on admitting Tarpischev rests entirely with the U.S. embassy in Moscow.
The Russians are also having trouble fielding a high-level team. Maria Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva and Elena Dementieva have all said they don’t want to play, but Dementieva is said to have reconsidered.
Alisa Kleybanova, who played in Russia’s win over Serbia, just pulled out of the Family Circle Cup in Charleston. Other Russians who are still in the U.S. playing Family Circle Cup who might be tabbed to play for Russia include No. 18 Nadia Petrova, No. 30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, No. 33 Elena Vesnina No, 46 Vera Dushevina and No. 62 Ekaterina Makarova.—Matt Cronin