Venus Williams is scheduled to make her 2012 debut in two weeks when the U.S. hosts Belarus in the 2012 Fed Cup World Group II First Round at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass., February 4-5.
The 31-year-old Venus has been off the circuit due to Sjogren’s Syndrome since the US Open.
Under captain Mary Joe Fernandez the U.S. team will be led by 13-time Grand Slam Champion Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Christina McHale and world No. 1 doubles player Liezel Huber.
Top 3 player Victoria Azarenka is expected to be part of the visiting Bela-Russian team.
The match will mark the first-ever matchup between the U.S. and Belarus in Fed Cup competition. The winner of this match will advance to the World Group Playoff and play for a chance to compete for the Fed Cup title in 2013. The loser will compete in the World Group II Playoff and will either maintain its status in World Group II for the following year or be relegated to zonal competition.
To play the Olympics (singles, doubles or mixed) players must compete in at least two Fed Cup matches. Venus was on the roster for a tie last season but Serena has not played and therefore must be on the team for both ties this February and again in April to be eligible for participation the summer London Olympics.
The Super Bowl is the same weekend as the Fed Cup content. Venus and Serena are part owners of the Miami Dolphins but Fed Cup duties will apparently trump the international party scene that’s expected at Indianapolis when the Giants battle the Patriots in 10 days.
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