It's going to be a tough weekend of work for these players, but the U.S. has named the team that will be going to Italy for the first round matchup with Italy.
U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez, along with the USTA has named Sloane Stephens, Varvara Lepchenko, Jamie Hampton, and doubles specialist Liezel Huber as the team that will represent the U.S. on red clay in Rimini, Italy, February 9-10.
Stephens is coming off a semifinal showing at the Australian Open.
Noticeably absent from the team is Serena Williams.
For Italy, Captain Corrado Barazzutti named world No. 7 Sara Errani, world No. 16 Roberta Vinci, Karin Knapp, and Nastassja Burnett to the team. Errani and Vinci won the 2013 Australian Open doubles title last week.
The best-of-five match series begins on Saturday, February 9, with two singles matches and is followed by two reverse singles matches and what could be, the deciding doubles match on Sunday, February 10. The Tennis Channel will cover the proceedings.
It's the 12th matchup between the U.S. and Italy in Fed Cup competition. The two countries last met in the 2010 Fed Cup final in San Diego, a match won by the Italians.
The U.S. last won against Italy in the 2003 World Group quarterfinal in Washington D.C. The winner of this tie will advance to the semifinals, held April 20-21 at a place to be determined.
Captain Fernandez is looking forward to the trip.
“I am excited to welcome some new, young players to the U.S. Fed Cup team when we travel on the road to face Italy and begin our 2013 quest for the Fed Cup,” said U.S. Fed Cup Captain Fernandez. “Italy is a championship team and always plays well in Fed Cup competition, but I have confidence in the players on this team and know that they will all be ready to compete hard for the U.S.”
It will be tough for the young Americans, but there is a lot of talent, and some of these young Americans are coming into their own.
Should be interesting to watch.