The International Tennis Federation (ITF) today announced the first four recipients of the 2010 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Award:
> Jelena Jankovic (SRB)
> Maria-Fernanda Alves (BRA)
> Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN)
> Katarina Srebotnik (SLO)
Following the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas ties in February, ten players were shortlisted by the Heart Award judging panel in four categories. The winners were then decided by a public vote on FedCup.com and FedCup.com/es. Each winner receives a silver Baccarat bracelet and a cheque to be donated to a chosen charity.
The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Award is a joint initiative between the ITF and BNP Paribas. It aims to recognise players who have represented their country with distinction, shown exceptional courage on court and demonstrated outstanding commitment to their team.
A total of six awards will be presented in 2010, with two further players being recognised following this weekend’s World Group Semifinals and World Group / World Group II Play-offs. The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Award was launched at the 2009 Final, when American Melanie Oudin was the inaugural winner.
Francesco Ricci Bitti, ITF President, said: “I would like to congratulate the first four Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Award winners of 2010. They all showed tremendous skill, commitment and character during their ties in February. In total, we received around 6,000 online votes, showing that the Heart Award is proving a great success with fans and players alike.”
Fed Cup by BNP Paribas continues this weekend, with the World Group Semifinals and World Group / World Group II Play-offs being held on 24-25 April.
Jelena Jankovic – World Group / World Group II first round
Jankovic staged a remarkable recovery in the second rubber of Serbia’s World Group first round tie against Russia. She trailed Alisa Kleybanova 46 14 15-40, but fought back tenaciously to win 11 straight games. The following day, she clinched another three-set victory, this time over Svetlana Kuznetsova, the world No. 4 at the time. In the deciding doubles rubber, however, she was defeated when partnering Ana Ivanovic.
Maria-Fernanda Alves – Americas Zone Group I
Alves demonstrated outstanding team spirit throughout the week, leading Brazil to victories over Puerto Rico and Cuba, and a fourth place finish. In the final round-robin tie, she came from a set down to defeat Canada’s Aleksandra Wozniak, the only loss for the Top 40 player.
Kimiko Date-Krumm – Asia/Oceania Zone Group I
Date-Krumm, who will turn 40 years old in September, made her Fed Cup comeback having not played for Japan since 1996. She impressively won all four of her singles rubbers without dropping a set, helping the Japanese team to reach the World Group II Play-offs. In the final tie, she suffered an ankle injury in the first game against Chinese Taipei’s Yung-Jan Chan, a Top 100 player, but battled on to win in two tight sets.
Katarina Srebotnik – Europe/Africa Zone Group I
Srebotnik - a former Top 20 player who is now ranked in the 300s - suffered numerous injuries that kept her out of action in 2009, making her exploits for Slovenia all the more impressive. She remained unbeaten throughout the week, leading her team into the World Group II Play-offs for the first time since 2005.