Tennis News Wire -
While the Davis Cup quarterfinals packed fans in last weekend, it’s questionable whether or not next week's Fed Cup matches will have the same success. Fed Cup ties rarely do as well as Davis Cup, but some do draw in their fair share of fans.
US Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez will travel with the her team to Ukraine for a playoff tie to get back into the World Group, which might end up having a more charged-up atmosphere than the US's last home tie in Worcester, Mass, which was poorly attended despite the presence of Serena Williams.
Fed Cup has gone through a variety of formats over the years. When Fernandez first began to play in the early 1990s, the finals were played at neutral sites such as England and Germany. Then the ITF went back to traditional home and away ties, then tried a four-team semifinal and final in Las Vegas in 2000 (which was an attendance disaster) and is now back to home and away ties.
The Fed Cup World Group is down to its semifinals, with Serbia traveling to Russia and Italy traveling to the Czech Republic. It will be quite interesting to see if the Czechs come out in force for their Fed Cup team (which includes Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova and Charleston finalist Lucie Safarova) like they did last weekend for their Davis Cup team's win over Serbia. Despite their success on tour, the Russian women have not traditionally drawn well in Moscow. Fernandez sees room for change, but is not sure if and when it will come.
"We actually just had a Fed Cup meeting in Miami," she said. "This point came up. There's so many ideas out there. Jim Courier has talked about the ideal plan for Davis Cup, maybe incorporate Fed Cup. It works in some countries. In some countries it's so popular, they get sold-out crowds all the time, it's fantastic. In other spots, it doesn't.
“We struggle in this country to get the people, to get the understanding of what it really is, to follow it. We can discuss all day about what changes could be made, how to make it better.
“But people, I think, love the concept of having it as a team, and the players like it. But can it be improved? Of course. Just with the dates itself, it's hard, because the calendar is so full, it's hard to find those weeks. We played February, April, wait for the final in November, it's tough to follow. People ask me all the time, When do you play? What happened? So that needs to improve.
“It's tough with the way it's structured at the moment to change anything. But hopefully, there will be changes in the future because I love it. But the ITF, you know, it's tough for them. I think it's tough with the way it's structured at the moment to change anything.
“But hopefully, there will be changes in the future because I love it. Loved it as a player, now as a captain. I think it could be better and I think it could be more popular with the public."