Two More Years For Mary Joe
Published September 15, 2010 12:00
NEW YORK, NY, USA - For the first time in a decade the United States, which has won the Fed Cup a record 17 times, has made it to the final of the competition in consecutive years. In a repeat of last year's title bout, the Americans will face Italy on November 6-7 - only this time they hope to turn the tables on the Italians on home ground at the San Diego Sports Arena.
During the US Open, USTA chief Lucy Garvin announced former world No.4 Mary Joe Fernandez's contract as captain has been extended for to cover the 2011 and 2012 competitions. "We are incredibly proud of Mary Joe and what she has accomplished as the captain of the Fed Cup," said Garvin. "She has the respect and the admiration of her team, as well as the USTA."
Speaking at the press conference at Flushing Meadows, 39-year-old Fernandez, who played Fed Cup for seven years during the 1990s, said she was thrilled to continue in the role.
"When I look back at my career, my best memories come from team competition, whether it was Maureen Connolly Cup when I was growing up, and then Wightman Cup against England, and then Fed Cup and the Olympics," said Fernandez. "From when I was playing, Billie Jean King slowly molded me into really believing that being captain was something that was gonna be up my alley, and I've had the best time with the girls."
"Liezel, who just became an American a couple years ago, cries every time the anthem is played right before Fed Cup starts," she observed. "You get the goosebumps because you see how much it means.
"Melanie broke through last year, and I think it was inspirational for the rest of the players around the same age. Wow, she can do it, we can do it. She's the best team player I could possibly have dreamed for, because it's not all about her. She really wants everybody else to do well.
"And Bethanie can do it all: She can play singles, she can play doubles, and she's learned to play to her strengths. I think sometimes she was trying to maybe just outhit people. Now she works the point a lot more, she's more patient. She's very talented and a very hard worker."
With Venus Williams and Serena Williams indicating their availability for the final, Fernandez was asked about the implications for existing team members should one or both of the superstars be fit to take to the courts.
"You want to win, so you want the best," Fernandez said. "But at the same time, if they can't do it or they don't want to be there, you want to have the players that want to be there.
"We are so fortunate to have Venus and Serena... I like Venus's head to head against Schiavone," she laughed. "Obviously Francesca is having the year of her career, but Venus knows her well and she's never lost to her."