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03 November 2012

Blog: Fan-tastic final


NEWS ARTICLE

Photo: Paul Zimmer/Srdjan StevanovicSerbian fans

By Ed Pearson

It's fair to say that this year's Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final will live long in the memories of those that play in it and not just because of the action on court.

The Czech fans (and likewise the travelling Serbians) have been in full voice on day one to help create a scintillating atmosphere in the O2 Arena.

The venue, which was formerly known as the Sazka Arena, was built in time to stage the World Ice Hockey Championships in 2004, but even fans of that sport, who are renowned for their passion, would have been impressed by the atmosphere for this year's Fed Cup Final.

The noisiest section of the crowd was led in voice by a Czech brass band, with renditions of old favourites like "When the Saints Go Marching In" and a timely reproduction of "If You're Happy and You Know It".

They might not have been as tuneful as some of the musicians that have played at the O2 - acts like Elton John, Bob Dylan and Madonna - but they were just as enthusiastic.

Safarova was just one of the players moved by the crowd today, saying: “It was amazing, it’s an amazing feeling. The people were just cheering so loud and I was so driven by it."

She received a particularly loud cheer when she appeared on the big screen mid-way through Petra Kvitova's match against Jelena Jankovic and without knowing it spurred on her team-mate to record a critical victory to hand the Czechs a 2-0 lead after day one.


One step closer to a famous hat-trick

Petra Kvitova and Tomas Berdych (CZE)It might be a little too early to start looking ahead but the Czech Fed Cup team have taken a giant stride towards recording the second step in a unique achievement.

No nation has ever won the Hopman Cup, the Fed Cup and the Davis Cup in the same year but as reigning champions in the former, being 2-0 up in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final, and a finalist in the latter it is looking like they could be in with a realistic shot of making the history books.

It was Petra Kvitova and Tomas Berdych who secured the Hopman Cup in Perth at the start of 2012 and the Czech No. 1s in women's and men's tennis are going to be relied upon heavily if they are to cement thair position as one of the best tennis nations in the world.

Kvitova has the chance to clinch a second successive Fed Cup title tomorrow when she takes on Ana Ivanovic in the first of the reverse singles rubbers, while Berdych will be involved at every step of the way if the men are to follow in their countrywomen's footsteps.

The Davis Cup Final takes place at the O2 Arena in Prague on 16-18 November. It's safe to say that if all goes to plan there will be a few sore heads in Eastern European capital on the Monday.

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