By Craig Gabriel
Each year during the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final a past player is honoured with the Fed Cup Award of Excellence by the ITF and the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum. This year, in Moscow, 2004 French Open winner and former World No. 2 Anastasia Myskina was presented with the award by ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti.
A winner of ten career singles titles, Myskina played 11 Fed Cup ties, was a member of the winning Russian team in 2004 and 2005 and compiled a Fed Cup win-loss record of 14-5 in singles and 4-1 in doubles.
She is only the third Russian woman to receive the honour joining Olga Morozova from 2004 and Larisa Savchenko from 2003.
The award was started in 2001 and is presented to a person who represents the ideals and spirit of the Fed Cup competition. Other winners include Billie Jean King, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Conchita Martinez and Virginia Wade.
Final day could be a thriller
By Ed Pearson
For the first time since 2006, the scores are level at the end of the first day of a Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final.
With Russia and the Czech Republic both having scored a point in Saturday’s singles rubbers, the fans at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow will be hoping for a thrilling finale to the women’s tennis season.
The 2006 final between Italy and Belgium went down to the wire after Justine Henin and Maria Santangelo made the score 2-2 on the last day, but there was a heartbreaking end to the tie that year when Kirsten Flipkens and Henin retired in the decisive doubles with the score at one set each.
No-one wants to see a repeat of that, but the sell-out crowd in Moscow will be looking forward to what could be a mouthwatering day of tennis tomorrow.
First up is the clash of the No. 1s – Svetlana Kuznetsova against Petra Kvitova. Both women were in fine form on Saturday and the hometown heroine of three previous Fed Cup Finals will know that she has to be at her very best if she’s to overcome the world No. 2.
Should the tie go into a decisive doubles rubber, Czech captain Petr Pala will have to decide whether to play Kvitova in the doubles – judging by today’s performance he’d be mad not to make use of his trump card.
A roof with a view
By Craig Gabriel
Functions held during Fed Cup or Davis Cup ties can often be at venues that offer spectacular views, but the spot for the one at the 2011 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final between Russia and the Czech Republic will take some beating.
It was on the rooftop of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Moscow, which is on the edge of Red Square, and the view across to the Kremlin with St Basil’s Catherdal illuminated by night was breathtaking. All those attractions are stunning by day, but on this occasion they were possibly even better at night.
They were lit up in the most glorious manner and even in the freezing conditions on the open part of the roof the view was just mesmerising and awe inspiring. This is a view not to be overlooked … well in one sense you are overlooking.