Team Profiles : Russia & Italy

Team Russia

Members of Russian team celebrate the victory over Italy's Francesca Schiavone at the Federation Cup women's tennis final in Moscow, 16 September 2007. Svetlana Kuznetsova won 4-6, 7-6 (9/7), 7-5 giving the hosts an unassailable 3-0 lead. (NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia claimed its fourth Fed Cup crown in five years when it beat Spain in 2008. Currently ranked number one on the ITF (International Tennis Federation) rankings, Russia won the Fed Cup in 2004, 2005, and 2007, breaking a Fed Cup win drought of 41 years!

Russia is fortunate to have a team overflowing with talent. The likes of Svetlana Kuznetsova, Anna Chakvetadze, Elena Vesnina and Vera Zvonareva remain faithful to their nation’s aspirations of winning in an age when young tennis champions choose not to play in the Fed Cup. Maria Sharapova has almost reached notoriety over her unwillingness to step in and compete at the top women’s team event in the world.

Svetlana Kuznetsova has proven her ability at the highest level. She is currently ranked no.4 in the world, and has already claimed her first Grand Slam when she picked up the US Open singles crown in 2004. She has also been a prolific winner for her country at the Fed Cup. Of her thirteen Fed Cup appearances, she has won ten times – seven singles matches and three doubles.

Another gem of the Russian Fed Cup tennis team is Nadia Petrova. She reached a career high ranking of world number 3. In her career she has taken on and beaten the best, including Jennifer Capriati, Monica Seles, Mary Pierce, Amelie Mauresmo and Jelena Jankovic. She beat Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain 6-3, 6-4 to help Russia claim a 5-0 win over Spain, and in the 2007 Fed Cup tie against the USA she played a pivotal role in securing victory for the team.

While losing on the first day to Venus Williams, she won her singles match against Meilen Tu on the second day and then teamed up with Elena Vesnina to beat Williams and Lisa Raymond in the decisive doubles rubber. Learn more about the team by checking out the Fed Cup Russia Player Profiles page.

Team Italy

Minnows, Italy, took their first Fed Cup title in 2006, defeating Belgium 3-2 in a drama-filled final doubles match when Belgian star, Justine Henin retired due to a knee injury. They became the first country to lift the Fed Cup having played all their ties away.

Although Italy has competed in every Fed Cup since 1963, it has only been in the past two years that there has been a surge of form. Italy is currently ranked 2nd on the ITF rankings.

Italy narrowly missed a second consecutive win in 2007, when they were crushed by Russia in the final 0-4. On the road to the final they defeated two-time winner France 3-2 and the People’s Republic of China 5-0.

The Fed Cup tennis team is made up of their most prolific players, Tathiana Garbin, Francesca Schiavone, Mara Sarntangelo, Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci. Italy lost to Spain in the first round of the Fed Cup 2008 3-2, and will surely come back fighting at the 2009 Fed Cup! Learn more about the team by checking out the Fed Cup Italy Player Profiles page.

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