MOSCOW, RUSSIA: Seven years ago Russia were crowned Fed Cup champions for the first time in front of a buoyant home crowd when a 20-year-old Vera Zvonareva teamed up with Anastasia Myskina to win the decisive fifth doubles rubber against France.
This weekend, Zvonareva has the chance to help Russia win a fifth Fed Cup title by overcoming the Czech Republic and the thought of doing so on home soil has given the world No. 7 an extra incentive.
“I love my home crowd and I love their support,” she said. “But the most important thing is to go out there and to compete and fight for every point. No matter what, we will try to make our crowd happy and we will try to show our best.”
Whether the Russian star will be at her best is still unknown. The 27-year-old Muscovite has a shoulder injury that she picked up at the Kremlin Cup last month, but will stop at nothing to ensure she gives her all due to her love of the competition.
“I have great emotions every time I play in the Fed Cup,” she said. “You support each other a lot and it’s nice to be alongside with someone because tennis is an individual sport and you are used to always competing for yourself and just be out there alone and here it’s different, emotionally it’s just different, and I really love the team competition.”
If Zvonareva is fit she will likely lead her team into battle against a Czech team who go into the tie full of confidence after their No. 1, Petra Kvitova, won the WTA year-end championships in Istanbul on Sunday and with veteran doubles specialist Kveta Peschke having been named half of the year-end No. 1 doubles team.
With the scores level at 3-3 in six previous meetings between Zvonareva and Kvitova, it is difficult to predict the outcome of what could prove to be a pivotal rubber.
“It’s going to be a tough challenge,” remarked Zvonareva. “It’s always tough against Petra. I really enjoy all of our matches – I like to play tough matches – I’m going to try my best and we will see what’s going to happen.”
The draw for this year’s final takes place on Friday and all eyes will be on Russian captain Shamil Tarpischev’s line-up. With four tried and tested singles players to choose from, the wise captain has a difficult choice to make.
Follow all the action live on www.fedcup.com.
Vera Zvonareva (RUS) - 02/11/2011