Stricken by injuries to its star players, the U.S. Fed Cup squad has undergone a dramatic makeover the week before its quarterfinal tie against Italy in Washington, D.C. Chanda Rubin and Alexandra Stevenson have been selected to the U.S. squad by captain Billie Jean King, replacing Venus Williams and Monica Seles, who both withdrew due to injuries.
The eighth-ranked Rubin and 30th-ranked Stevenson join Meghann Shaughnessy and Lisa Raymond on the United States team that will play Italy at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center July 19-20th. Wimbledon quarterfinalist Silvia Farina Elia, Rita Grande, Tathiana Garbin and Francesca Schiavone are expected to be named to the Italian squad today.
The 24th-ranked Seles has been hobbled by a painful injury to the sesamoid bone in her right foot. The 12th-seeded Seles limped out of the French Open in a 6-4, 6-0 loss to Nadia Petrova last month. It was the first time in her storied career that Seles suffered a first-round loss in a Grand Slam. She has not played a match since, but had hoped to return to play in the Fed Cup tie.
“I just talked to Monica and she had an MRI on her foot,” King said in a June 26th interview with Tennis Week. “It (the injury) is just a little bit of a stretch. She’s starting to hit already. She’s very excited about playing Fed Cup. Things look good right now. Obviously, if there’s a problem, she’ll call me.”
Apparently, the injury is still bothering Seles, who was forced to withdraw.
Shaughnessy and Raymond are the likely U.S. doubles team for this tie. In their only previous pairing for the United States, they defeated Israel’s Tzipora Obziler and Hila Rosen in last year’s Fed Cup World Group playoffs.