Vania King to help US Fed Cup team against Belgium, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin
Captain Mary Joe Fernandez on Tuesday named Melanie Oudin, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Liezel Huber and Long Beach's Vania King to the Federation Cup team that opens 2011 play Feb. 5 and 6 in Belgium. The Belgians tentatively expect Kim Clijsters, who is in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, and Justine Henin, to play. Henin, however, complained that the elbow she injured at Wimbledon last July is still bothering her after she lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first week in Australia and it wouldn't be unexpected to see a player such as Clijsters who plays deep into a major tournament, pull out either.
Fernandez had hoped to have at least Venus Williams join the team but Williams declined the invitation because she is recovering from a pulled muscle suffered at the Australian Open. Williams' sister, Serena, hasn't played a match since winning Wimbledon last July and then suffering an accident that resulted in a cut foot. Serena has given no indication when she might return to the WTA Tour.
The U.S. made it to the Fed Cup finals last year without either Williams sister playing a match. They lost to Italy in the finals for the second straight year.
The Williams sisters haven't played Fed Cup since the last Olympics and if they want to be eligible for the 2012 Games in London, they must make themselves available once this year and next year.
-- Diane Pucin