Serbian captain Dejan Vranes talks to FedCup.com ahead of his team's trip to face Czech Republic in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final, which is taking place at Prague's O2 Arena on 3-4 November. It will be Serbia's first ever appearance in the Final.
Four years ago Serbia was in Group I and now you have the chance to win a historic first Fed Cup title. What has changed in these years?
A lot has changed. First of all, the team is much more experienced. It went through the phase of great changes, and our players became world class competitors. Furthermore, beside Jelena (Jankovic) and Ana (Ivanovic), other girls played in Fed Cup team, like Bojana Jovanovski and Aleksandra Krunic, who brought golden points for us in some of the decisive matches we played.
The Davis Cup title in 2010 was the confirmation of a golden generation in the Serbian men´s tennis. Will a Fed Cup title be the same for women’s tennis?
Winning the Davis Cup trophy was a crowning success to everything that Serbian tennis achieved in male competition. The title was a result of their remarkable rise on the world stage, and a proof of success of this great generation. It showed that Serbian tennis got out of the phase in which one players shines, while the others cannot follow. The Fed Cup final for women's tennis in Serbia is an evidence of the good work, and it shows that the individual results are not just a mere coincidence.
What will be the key factors that will define this Final? Is there any specific match that you regard as crucial?
It’s hard to define what will be the key factor in the Final between Czech Republic and Serbia. Many things are to be considered. The basic question that arises is the players' health. The season is long and intense. Of course, their form in early November will also be important. I wish them to stay healthy, and then we shall think about the match.
How do you qualify the chances for both teams in this tie?
Such estimation can be noticed from my previous answer. If I had to make up my mind at this moment, I would give the role of the favorite to the host, the Czech national team, not only because of the home crowd, but also because they have chosen the surface. The ratio would be 60:40, but that does not mean we have already given up. On the contrary!
Petra Kvitova is one of the best players in the world right now and is in a 10-match winning streak in Fed Cup. Do you think that she is beatable on hard court and at home?
Petra Kvitova is a tennis player who has suddenly got to the forefront. She is strong, fast and eager to triumph in front of her fans in Fed Cup, and that deserves respect. Especially her row of ten consecutive victories in this competition is impressive.
Ana Ivanovic showed a great fighting spirit in the semifinals with a tough three-set victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Do you think that the team atmosphere in Fed Cup helps her to find her best game?
Ana Ivanovic is a high quality player and I’m sure she is capable of making a return to the Top 10. She has a game, her self-confidence is now coming back, and I’m convinced that by the end of the year she will reach the level from 2007 and 2008.Her triumph against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova shows the strength of her will and her hunger for victories. At the same time, she has proved be to mentally fit as well, which is sometimes in tennis of crucial importance. Certainly the atmosphere in the team has led to it that Ana completely feels as part of the collective. I think that in Moscow the unity of the girls was mostly expressed which drives me to be optimistic when it comes to Fed Cup Final.
How do you see Jelena Jankovic’s current form? Will she recover the amazing level of 2008 when she reached the world No. 1 ranking?
Jelena Jankovic is a great player, and when she plays for the Serbian national team she gives her best. She is very brave, great patriot and a tennis player that never puts herself in the spotlight, but is subordinated to the team. She will return to the level that deserves her quality, to the top of the world tennis.
If you win, Serbia will join a select group of countries that have won both the Davis Cup and Fed Cup titles. What will that mean for the Serbian public?
If the girls manage to win the Fed Cup and follow the steps of men’s national team, that will be another tremendous achievement which, I’m sure, will mean a lot and bring immense joy to our people. At the same time, Serbia will be enrolled in the tennis club of those nations that have made the feat and that have triumphed in the two most important team competitions on the planet.