The ITF has announced that Italy’s Sara Errani has won the final Fed Cup Heart Award of 2013 in recognition of her performance during Italy’s semifinal victory against Czech Republic in Palermo in April.
Errani has been an integral part of the Italian Fed Cup team since making her debut for her country in 2008. This year she has given Italy a winning start in their victories over USA and Czech Republic, and also partnered Roberta Vinci to a deciding doubles victory over the Americans in the first round in February. The Italian will contest her 14th Fed Cup tie this weekend, and boasts a 16-8 overall Fed Cup win-loss record.
Errani was presented with a cheque for US$10,000, which will be donated to her chosen charity, Care and Share, to benefit children in a village in India called Vijayawada. The presentation was made by ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti after the draw ceremony for the 2013 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final at the Palazzo dell’Unione Sarda in Cagliari.
Errani said: I'm very happy to receive this prestigious recognition from the ITF. It is a prize that I have wanted because it recognises the courage and dedication to your national team. For me and my teammates, it has always been very important to defend our colours, and we feel part of a winning project.”
Errani was shortlisted for the award alongside Roberta Vinci (ITA), Maria Kirilenko (RUS) and Ekaterina Makarova (RUS). All four players competed in the World Group semifinals in April and helped their nation reach the Final, which is taking place at the Tennis Club Cagliari in Cagliari, Sardinia on 2-3 November.
The players were shortlisted by the Heart Award judging panel, consisting of ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti and a mixture of former players and members of the international media. A public vote, which ran on 7-28 October, was held on FedCup.com and FedCup.com/es to decide the winner.
A total of five Heart Awards have been presented in 2013. Errani follows in the footsteps of Daniela Hantuchova (SVK), Paula Cristina Goncalves (BRA), Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) and Agnieszka Radwanska (POL), who were honoured earlier this year.
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Sara for her outstanding performances for her country for many years. She has played a key role in her team’s success, helping Italy win the title in 2009 and 2010. I am sure that she will once again show her fighting qualities this weekend.”
The Fed Cup Heart Award is an ITF initiative that was first presented to USA's Melanie Oudin at the 2009 Fed Cup Final. It aims to recognise players who have represented their country with distinction, shown exceptional courage on court and demonstrated outstanding commitment to their team.