“With Sam absent is it a real opportunity for someone to step-up and lead the team. She has helped us get to this point but now there is the opportunity for someone else to fill this space. ”Australian Fed Cup Captain Dave Taylor
Jarmila Groth (No.29), Jelena Dokic (No.64), Anastasia Rodionova (No.74) and Sophie Ferguson (No.124) will represent Australia in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Play-off tie against Ukraine on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 April 2011.
Samantha Stosur will miss the tie, which will be held at Glen Iris Valley Recreation Club, Mount Waverley, to better prepare for the clay-court season.
Announced today, Australian Fed Cup Captain, David Taylor said he has a strong line-up to take on Ukraine.
“We are obviously disappointed that our No.1 player, Sam, will not be coming home for this tie but we respect her decision and I have faith in the other girls to get us back to the elite eight,” Taylor said.
“Jarmila, Jelena and Anastasia are all in the top 100 players and Sophie also has the potential to also break into the top 100 women with a few strong performances.
“Jelena has made a remarkable start to 2011 with a WTA title win in Kuala Lumpur, her first since 2002 and a quarterfinal appearance in Paris where she lost to Kim Clijsters.
“She is also a proven Fed Cup performer, with a 13-3 win-loss record; and Jarmila and Anastasia have had amazing Fed Cup debuts beating much higher ranked players – Jarmila over Italian Francesca Schiavone last February in Hobart and Anastasia over Alona Bondarenko this time last year in Ukraine.
“Sophie, who will be representing the Fed Cup team for the first time since 2005, recorded a career high of No.109 in July last year and her favourite surface is clay. She made her best ever Grand Slam result at the French Open when she qualified and made the second round last year .
“We have a lot of depth in the women’s team and with all four girls capable of strong performances Nicole [Bradtke] and I have some hard decisions to make leading into the tie.
“With Sam absent is it a real opportunity for someone to step-up and lead the team. She has helped us get to this point but now there is the opportunity for someone else to fill this space.
“The Ukraine team are never an easy opponent and I expect them to come out fighting but the Australian girls have worked really hard to get into the World Group and I know they are keen to prove they belong there. It should be a great tie.”
Samantha Stosur said it has been a really tough decision to not play with the girls next week.
“I love representing Australia and it has been difficult to prioritise my immediate schedule. But it is extremely important to me to focus on the clay-court season and get the best possible preparation for the French Open.”
“I am confident though that we will still field a very strong team for this tie given the depth of talent we are developing in women’s tennis in Australia.”
The Australia team played Ukraine at this point in the competition last year with Stosur, Rodionova, Alicia Molik and Rennae Stubbs claiming victory 5-0.
Both teams will be fighting to return to the World Group with their head-to-head record currently tied at 1-1.
This will be the first time that Melbourne has hosted a Fed Cup tie since 1988 and the first time Australia has hosted a Fed Cup tie on clay.
Tickets will be available through Ticketek, www.ticketek.com.au/fedcup or call 132 849.