The injured Serena Williams texted U.S. Fed Cup team members during their 3-1 first-round loss to Italy in Cleveland last weekend. Williams has been dealing with a back injury and pulled out of Doha this week. American players Madison Keys, Christina McHale, and Alison Riske all lost their singles matches to Italy, and the team will now have to contest a World Group playoff later this year.
“She's been very supportive throughout the years,” said U.S. captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “She was writing us during the matches, watching it live stream.
“When Christina was playing, [Serena] was like, ‘Okay, she can come back. Tell her to hit more forehands.’ She was play-by-play on each match. When Maddie (Madison Keys) was playing, 'Oh, my gosh, [Camilla Giorgi] is playing well. Tell her to hang in there.' I was actually looking at my phone while they were playing. She was very supportive, wishing the girls luck, that they can do it. She was happy that the attitudes were so good on everyone and how they had that team spirit.”
Fernandez added that the door is open for Serena to return to Fed Cup down the road.
“If she's healthy and can play, she has a spot for sure.”