The Russian national team will compete for the postponed title

The Billie Jean King Cup Finals kicked off in Prague, the decisive stage of the Women’s World Team Championship, which was canceled last season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Russian national team has put forward five of its strongest tennis players, including the finalist of Roland Garros Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who yesterday for the first time in her career rose in the world rankings to 12th place. The rivals of captain Igor Andreev’s charges in the group will be teams from France and Canada.

Since France defeated Australia in the final in November 2019 in Perth and won the Fed Cup for the third time, there have been many changes in this tournament. First, the reform of its drawing, initiated by the ITF several years ago, was completed. By analogy with the Davis Cup, the formula for the weekly final competition was developed with the participation of 12 teams, divided into four groups, the winners of which go to play-off, and the venue was determined – Budapest. Then, in September last year, the name of the tournament was changed, which they decided to rename in honor of the American Billie Jean King – the former first racket of the world and 12-time winner of the Grand Slam championship, who stood at the origins of women’s professional tennis in its current form. And after last spring the Hungarian Tennis Federation refused to host the decisive part of the Billie Jean King Cup for epidemiological reasons, it was moved to Prague. At the same time, the wild card, originally allocated to the Hungarian national team, was handed over to the Canadians who ended up in Group A with the French and Russian women.

The Russian team was included in the list of the 12 strongest national teams in the world two years ago, when in the qualifying round they beat the Romanian national team with a score of 3: 2. Then the winning point in the final doubles meeting was brought by two Anna – Blinkova and Kalinskaya – but now the team has neither one nor the other, since its captain Igor Andreev, for the first time in many years, managed to simultaneously attract five of the country’s strongest tennis players to the national team. At the moment, they are the finalist of this year’s Roland Garros Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who yesterday became the 12th in the world for the first time in her career, as well as Daria Kasatkina (28th), Veronika Kudermetova (31st), the finalist of the recent Kremlin Cup Ekaterina Aleksandrova ( 32nd) and Lyudmila Samsonova (40th). Moreover, since the Billie Jean King Cup, like the Davis Cup, has the status of the World Tennis Team Championship, in accordance with the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) valid until December 23, 2022, Russian players cannot play at these competitions under the national flag … The teams themselves are officially called the teams of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTR).

But with such a composition, the national team assembled by Andreev will actually be able to claim the title. The fact is that the vast majority of other captains, for various reasons, could not attract their best players to participate in the tournament, including those who are already preparing to play in Guadalajara, Mexico at the final competition of the Women’s Tennis Association WTA Finals. For example, the national team of Belarus was left without the second racket of the world Arina Sobolenko, the national team of the Czech Republic – without the finalist of Wimbledon Karolina Plishkova, and the national team of Australia – without the leader of the world ranking Ashley Barty, who finished the season ahead of schedule. The Canadian national team also suffered losses, having failed to put two of its tennis players out of the top thirty – Bianca Andreescu and the recent sensational US Open finalist Leila Fernandez. This, however, did not prevent Canadians Gabriele Dabrowski and Rebecca Marino in the decisive third meeting, doubles combination, to defeat French women Alize Cornet and Clara Burel in two sets. And now on Tuesday, the Russians will meet with the French, and on Wednesday – with the Canadians. The team that will take the first place in Group A will play with the winner of Group C, which includes the national teams of the USA, Spain and Slovakia.

Evgeny Fedyakov

Tennis ratings

ATP rating

eleven). Novak Djokovic (Serbia) – 10,340 points. 2 (2). Daniil Medvedev (Russia) – 9540.3 (3). Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece) – 7840.4 (4). Alexander Zverev (Germany) – 7180.5 (5). Rafael Nadal (Spain) – 5635. 6 (6). Andrey Rublev (Russia) – 5150.7 (7). Matteo Berrettini (Italy) – 4768.8 (8). Kasper Ruud (Norway) – 3670.9 (11). Yannick Sinner (Italy) – 3395.10 (10). Hubert Hurkach (Poland) – 3366.11 (12). Felix Auger-Allassim (Canada) – 3263.12 (9). Dominik Thiem (Austria) – 3225.13 (14). Cameron Norrie (Great Britain) – 2900.14 (15). Roger Federer (Switzerland) – 2785.15 (16). Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) – 2760. 16 (19). Aslan Karatsev (Russia) – 2392. 17 (18). Pablo Carreno Busta (Spain) – 2365. 18 (17). Christian Garin (Chile) – 2353. 19 (13). Denis Shapovalov (Canada) – 2348. 20 (20). Roberto Bautista-Agut (Spain) – 2260 ( 31 (30). Karen Khachanov (Russia) – 1706.

WTA rankings

eleven). Ashley Barty (Australia) – 7701 points. 2 (2). Arina Sobolenko (Belarus) – 6150.3 (4). Barbora Kreichikova – 4708.4 (3). Karolina Pliskova (both – Czech Republic) – 4695.5 (5). Garbinier Mugurus (Spain) – 4425.6 (7). Maria Sakkari (Greece) – 3985.7 (8). Uns Jabir (Tunisia) – 3455.8 (14). Anette Kontaveit (Estonia) – 3416.9 (12). Angelique Kerber (Germany) – 3320.10 (11). Iga Schwientek (Poland) – 3306.11 (13). Paula Badosa (Spain) – 3247. 12 (16). Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) – 3085.13 (10). Naomi Osaka (Japan) – 3076.14 (6). Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) – 3016.15 (15). Sophia Kenin (USA) – 3005.16 (19). Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan) – 2883.17 (9). Belinda Benchich (Switzerland) – 2740.18 (20). Elise Mertens (Belgium) – 2695.19 (17). Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) – 2660.20 (21). Jessica Pegula (USA) – 2650 … 28 (28). Daria Kasatkina — 2180… 31 (32). Veronika Kudermetova — 1920. 32 (33). Ekaterina Alexandrova — 1881… 40 (42). Lyudmila Samsonova (all – Russia) – 1601.

In brackets – the position in the previous version of the rating.

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