U.S. Women’s Tennis Makes Embarrassing Exit from Fed Cup World Group [Opinion]
by Jeremy Davis | April 18th, 2011, 4:22 pm

Not that it showed up on SportsCenter of anything (it barely showed up on the Tennis Channel, tape delayed) but the U.S. Fed Cup got booted from the Fed Cup World Group this weekend after a 5-0 pounding by Germany. This was a World Group Playoffs match to see who stayed in the World Group, so it means the U.S. is out of the top level for the first time since the Fed Cup was created in 1963. This means the U.S. cannot even compete for the title in 2012.
It is a sad time for the nation that has won more Fed Cup titles than anybody. Hell, when the U.S. was dominating tennis with Chris Evert and Tracy Austin and Billie Jean King, the U.S. won seven in a row from 1976-82.

Some might say “But everyone was injured for the Americans!” but that doesn’t pan out.

Mattek-Sands was injured, but clay is her worst surface. The Williams sisters never play Fed Cup, and they only would have played this tie to maintain their Olympics eligibility. Venus Williams reportedly retained her eligibility for the Olympics by hopping on the plane to Stuttgart and sitting in the stands for the U.S. How sad is that?

The Williams sisters are close to retirement, and there are no other hot prospects behind them.

“It wasn’t the pressure of the tie and trying to stay in the World Group, we just came up against a better team,” Fernandez said about Germany, which isn’t even a World Group level team (now they are after beating the U.S.).

Fed Cup makes some of the smallest ripples in the sports pond, but people should be taking notice of this. U.S. women’s tennis isn’t in a slump — it’s over.

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16 Comments for U.S. Women’s Tennis Makes Embarrassing Exit from Fed Cup World Group [Opinion]

Kimberly Says:

jeremy davis for once i agree with one of your articles, this was pathetic.

dari Says:

So does that mean that serena definitely isn’t eligible for the Olympics? Bummer in so many ways, not to mention that dream pairing of her and Arod on the grass in mixed dubs :(

WTF Says:

There’s no mixed doubles at the olympics. That competition is only at slams, and it’s more an exhibition for entertainment purposes. Neither WTA or ATP track stats or records for that competition.

dari Says:

wtf, WTF? Haha couldn’t resist, no aggression here at all

Carson Ranger Says:

Both Williamses have won the Fed Cup. Take your ‘never play’ and shove it.

Joshua Says:

Serena still, theoretically, has time to qualify by making herself available next year (it doesn’t have to be in the World Group.) The potentially bigger issue for both is the rankings cut-off. Obviously, if they should get over their current injury troubles, this won’t be a problem, but remember that the only points Serena has are from her Wimbledon victory, so she could be facing a major rankings free-fall if she’s not better by June and her injury protection will have run-out by the time of the Olympics.

The USTA’s position is that Venus fulfilled her eligibility by traveling with the team. This is not necessarily the position of the ITF or IOC, however. The ITF wants to use the Olympics as a carrot to convince players to play in the Davis and Fed Cups (especially the Fed Cup.) Frankly, I’m slightly surprised that the USTA is uninterested in doing this — they could easily take the stance that Venus should have made herself available to actually play at any point in the last several years — but as we saw with the Jurgen Melzer brouhaha in Beijing (Melzer was below the rankings cut off and Germany went to the Court of Arbitration to force his inclusion in the Olympics, at the expense of his compatriots who had earned berths ahead of him) it’s a good bet that the USTA’s position will prevail even if the ITF has a different position.

And Carson, while the Williams sisters have won the Fed Cup, they haven’t played since 2007, which is suspiciously close to . . . the Olympics! I have no problem with the sisters not wanting to play in an event with a weird schedule and without the history of the Davis Cup, but the fact is: they don’t play Fed Cup and haven’t, except for eligibility purposes (and Venus has just proved that you don’t even have to play!) for a very long time.

dari Says:

Get roger’s picture off this article!
Is it somehow picking up on the “fed” part

killerc Says:

Nice article. Well said, I hope Serena can come back soon from her injury debacle.
USA Women’s tennis looks bleak. American tennis looks not too great in general. I blame the USTA for not marketing at the school level, make tennis a more competitive sport in the schools & around the nation (not just cali/florida) compared to baseball, football, basketball, soccer, volleyball..
Have a national tournament on tv // espn2. of the top best highschools (State Champs) in the nation. Glamorize it. Make schools have an $$ incentive to have Tennis in your school from fame & notoriety; MAKE kids go hey! If I play good I could be on tv or be noticed. Unlike those other team sports where only a few can. When you start to have a talent pool of athletic kids playing.. you’ll be getting somewhere!

I went to a div.1 college tennis match recently and out of both teams playing maybe 2 kids were AMERICAN! Was ridiculous. I asked the coaches whatsup? They both flat out told me the American kid’s play level sucks.
I say also boost the club play level and incentives. I know for a fact GERMANY has a way better club system and leagues than we do. Their pros even compete in the club leagues. You can get paid to compete in the league!! Like DAMMNNN.

Bottom line USTA needs to change their ideology and try to promote to more youth, people and all classes. Stop with the country club mentality or hey If we let the scrawny rich kids play on a smaller court with bigger balls, at early age to develop strategy – all will be ok.
It’s a joke.

WTF Says:

dari Says: wtf, WTF? Haha couldn’t resist, no aggression here at all

Bleh. I guess this is the first time. I stand corrected.

I think it’s pointless. No one takes mixed doubles seriously. It’s not even attached to a tour. There are no rankings points for it.

And when the US does go to the Olympics, I highly doubt Arod will be a representative in mixed doubles. It will likely be one of the Bryans as a pairing, and the other Bryan. Perhaps the brothers can partner the sisters.

thetennisguy Says:

Someone needs to write a follow-up article … How the USTA is killing American Tennis … let’s get more public courts built! Let’s take tennis from the private clubs and give it back to the people! Tennis shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg through the “juniors” program. It should essentially be free.

dari Says:

The points and rankings isn’t really the point, WTF, just entertainment! And the chance for another medal event for tennis. nothing to get worked up about.
I mentioned those two because serena is the last wimby champ for the US and Andy has had great results there. They both talked about the pairing, and it sounded like fun.
I have no idea how they go about picking, but Andy has a lot of pull in American tennis.
well, I doubt this is the first time you’re corrected.

skeezerweezer Says:

@ tennisguy & killerc,

NO SH!T! USTA? Ugh….

Kimberly Says:

Tennis channel is shwoing then replay of Melanie oudin. Painful to watch. Us tennis is just in the toilet.

WTF Says:

dari Says:

“The points and rankings isn’t really the point, WTF, just entertainment!”

I think entertainment takes the value out of a gold medal. People train all their life for one of these. In Swimming and athletics world records get broken. Winning a gold medal there is a monumental achievement. Should a gold medal won in some non-serious throwaway event for entertainment value carry the same weight as setting a new world record in 200M Freestyle? On the tally it does.

In mixed doubles, the man and the woman aren’t even going to have spent time together practicing for the event. Synchronized swimmers spend a lifetime training together for this occasion, and it is the most important event of their lives. It is what they live for. I think it takes meaning away from the medal for it to be awarded to some event that people don’t live and die for. Michael Phelps certainly wouldn’t equate it with one of his medals.

For most olympians, the olympics is the pinnacle of their sport. There is no greater achievement. It’s not so for even a singles event in Tennis, let alone mixed doubles.

“nothing to get worked up about.”

Who says I’m worked up? It takes quite a bit to work me up.

“I have no idea how they go about picking, but Andy has a lot of pull in American tennis.”

The americans will see every gold medal as valuable in order to beat China. They will take any opportunity they can get. That means selecting the pairing with the greatest chance of success. And I don’t think Arod is it. He doesn’t play doubles. They will want the Bryans to go.

“well, I doubt this is the first time you’re corrected.”

No, it’s probably not. I got this wrong because it just doesn’t make sense. There’s a reason why mixed doubles was never included in the first place.

scineram Says:

Most sports in the Olympics are those no one really gives a shit about, except for one occasion every four years. For those big sports that matter all around or at least some important parts of the globe, futball, baseball, basketball, tennis, hockey, boxing, the Olympics is only a sideshow for entertainment.

Troy Says:

I blame the school system for not promoting sports or tennis and Why do we allow the competition to live in the US and play for other countries? (Sharapova – for one) Serena and Venus are only interested in promoting themselves and are bad for American tennis in general.

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