Playing the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final away from home will not necessarily be a disadvantage – that’s according to Serbian captain Dejan Vranes.
Vranes, who is hoping to lead his country to a first Fed Cup title when his team takes on Czech Republic at the O2 Arena in Prague, believes playing at home can just as easily affect a team negatively if they are not used to playing under immense pressure.
“In these matches, where the rivals are equal in quality, the audience can prevail,” said the Serbian skipper. “But each match carries a burden and responsibility. Players who manage to overcome the psychosis will gain the advantage.
“The hosts have the advantage of the home ground and crowd, but the Czech players have more pressure to stand, which can often be counterproductive.”
Perhaps the Serbian captain is simply playing mind games ahead of what is sure to be an intriguing encounter in front of a sell-out crowd in Prague.
Petra Kvitova – the star of the show for the home team – will have to perform at her very best if she is to overcome Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic in both singles rubbers.
The Serbian duo might not be at the level they once were, but when it comes to playing for your country ranking can go out of the window.
Vranes added that there is a real sense of national pride among his team and a desire to win the trophy that needs to be sated this weekend.
“Everyone in the team wants to triumph, and all our thoughts and aspirations go only in that direction. For years we have built a path that took us to the finals, we were always aware that we could reach not only the finals, but also that we could win the title,” he said.
“This is our dream, our goal, and we are not going to deviate from it. There were times when we were written off and underestimated, but we have proved to be worthy of the maximum level. We shall play without pressure and I believe that we will make our big dream come true.”
And what awaits the Serbian women if they were to win the Fed Cup title is a dream reception. One only has to think of the success with which the team of Novak Djokovic, Janko Tipsarevic, Viktor Troicki and Nenad Zimonjic were heralded after their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas title victory in Belgrade in 2010.
“Serbia loves and respects sports heroes, and every success is felt in a special way,” explained Vranes. “Tennis players won the Davis Cup two years ago, now the girls are at the door of an historic feat. Everything would be different if Serbia wins in the final of the Fed Cup.”