STUTTGART, GERMANY: The Germany v Serbia draw for the Fed Cup BNP Paribas World Group play-offs took place in Stuttgart on Friday.
With Barbara Rittner’s ladies keen to climb back up into the World Group and for last years’ Serbian Fed Cup finalist team hoping to stay in the elite eight nations in international ladies tennis, it’s likely to be an exciting weekend.
Earlier in the week, Germany captain Barbara Rittner announced a team swap with Julia Goerges, dropping out due to “body problems”, replaced by Anna-Lena Groenefeld. The doubles expert is pleased to have made it into the team: “At first I was disappointed Barbara didn’t want to place me in the team. I don’t feel overjoyed I slipped in the team in this way [through Julia’s misfortune], but I will do my part so we can win on the weekend.”
Fed Cup newbie Mona Barthel will face Ana Ivanovic first on the tie’s first day of play, followed by Angelique Kerber against Bojana Jovanovski. Day two Kerber and Ivanovic will battle it out, then Barthel and Jovanovski. Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Sabine Lisicki will meet Vesna Dolonc and Aleksandra Krunic in Sunday’s doubles match.
The outcome of the draw was considered predicable by the teams, including Ana Ivanovic, “We expected this kind of order. And we expect a very tough match for both of us tomorrow,” Ivanovic explained. “And also they have the advantage of playing at home. We are very positive and I think it’s very important for all of us to come together and support each other. I think it’s achievable for us and we are very positive about the weekend tie.”
Looking laid back and confident at their fortune to be playing on their home-clay at Stuttgart’s Porsche Arena, German coach Barbara Rittner was giving nothing away about her teams’ chances when quizzed about the German’s strategy for the tie, “There is no strategy, they will play Ivanovic and Jovanovski and give their best and hope to win!”
Despite Ivanovic’s world ranking of No. 17 and 2012 Fed Cup success at reaching the finals, Mona Barthel’s (No. 28) history at having beaten the Serbian twice looks set to keep everyone on their toes for nail-biting action.
“I’ve played Anna two times and I won the two times, so that’s definitely good! But she’s a great player, she won a Grand Slam tournament, she was No. 1 in the world. She plays really good tennis, so I know I have to go out there and play my best, I have to concentrate on my game and hopefully the home crowd can support me, give me a lot of energy and hopefully it turns out good,” said Barthel.
While the Serbians looked a little edgy off their home turf, their pre-tie evening is to chill, “Maybe we’ll spend some quality time together, put some music on in the massage room. Basically we’re not very into these ritual things,” explained Aleksandra Krunic.
Angelique Kerber revealed that although the German team will also relax together over an evening meal, they do have a pre-tie routine that involves fast, ‘powerful’ music in the locker room “before they then go out and fight to win”. Let’s see which approach produces results.
The full draw is listed below:
R1: Mona Barthel (GER) v Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
R2: Angelique Kerber (GER) v Bojana Jovanovski (SRB)
R3: Angelique Kerber (GER) v Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
R4: Mona Barthel(GER) v Bojana Jovanovski(SRB)
R5: Anna-Lena Groenefeld/Sabine Lisicki (GER) v Vesna Dolonc/Aleksandra Krunic (SRB)
Follow this tie as it happens: Live scores or Watch Live
Ana Ivanovic (SRB) - 20/04/2013
Angelique Kerber (GER) - 20/04/2013