Fed Cup Tennis Betting Tips

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova speakes with her fans during her visit to Nike's sports shop before this weekend's Federation Cup women's tennis finals against Italy in Moscow, 14 September 2007. (NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images)
The first round of the Fed Cup takes place shortly after the Australian Open tennis tournament. Eight nations from the World Group and World Group 2 will compete for the most illustrious women’s tennis team title in the world.

If rankings are anything to go by, then defending champion Russia is clearly the favourite. Team Russia’s form has been on an upswing since the turn of the century. They have bagged four Fed Cup titles to date, in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008 they were runners-up on four occasions – 1988, 1990, 1999 and 2001.

The most telling aspect of their rise to stardom is the commitment from the team members. Team Russia is fortunate to boast two players who are currently ranked in the top 10 of the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) World Rankings. Svetlana Kuznetsova is ranked number seven, teammate, Vera Zvonareva is ranked holds the number 9 berth. Other teamates Ekaterina Makarova (ranked number 58) and Elena Vesnina (ranked number 61) are climbing the WTA rankings with great speed.

This commitment from some of the highest paid female athletes in the world is commendable, and few nations who compete in the Fed Cup have been as well supported as Team Russia in this respect.

Team Spain has a lengthy Fed Cup history since 1972. They were ther 2008 runners up, and have won a total of 5 Fed Cup titles. Spain is currently ranked number three, and while their side does not boast any top ranking singles players, Virginia Ruano Pascual is ranked at number 8 for WTA doubles.

Team Italy has only won 1 Fed Cup title in 2006, when they beat Belgium in the finals. A Fed Cup tennis betting tip is that Team Italy remains a dark horse for the next competition, as they don’t have any top-ranked women’s players in their team. Italy lost to Spain in the 2008 Fed Cup first round 3-2. In fact, if you analyse their victory, it could be said that they won the Fed Cup by default as Belgium’s top contender and former world number 1, Justine Henin, was plagued by a knee injury for the all-important final clash.

Team France definitely stands a chance of taking their third Fed Cup. Although they picked up their titles in 1997 and 2003, they have been runners-up on two occasions, in 2004 and 2005, in 2008, they lost to China in the first round 3-2. They too have a world-class player in Amelie Mauresmo. She has the skill, if not the temperament, of beating anyone on the day. The momentum going forward into the next Fed Cup seems to be on Team France’s side, although Team Russia will take a lot of beating.

Probably the biggest disappointment in recent years, apart from Australia’s dismal showing at the Fed Cup in the past 33 years, is the form of Team USA. The Americans totally dominated the competition right through the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, but by the turn of century Team USA lost impetus, a sad but true Fed Cup betting tip indeed. It has been seven long years since they lifted the Fed Cup.

What is equally surprising is that they have the formidable Williams Sisters as team members, but even their prowess on the tennis courts has not saved the day for the USA. It could have been due to the autocratic captaincy of legend, Billie Jean King.

She caused a furor in 2002 when she dismissed the awesomely talented Jennifer Capriati from the Fed Cup team saying that she had violated rules by bringing along and practicing with personal coaches. In the same year, Monica Seles and Lisa Raymond were defeated by the lower ranked Austrians, and since then Team USA has been battling to regain its prominence at the Fed Cup.