The United States Fed Cup team has drawn Germany (away) for the World Group playoffs on April 16-17. The U.S. team will presumably include both Venus and Serena Williams for the first time since 2007, as the sisters must play, or at least show up for a tie this year, in order to maintain their eligibility for the 2012 Olympics, which is a stated goal for both of them. This picture was taken Feb 9/11 and shows Serena still wearing her foot cast. For her to be declared ready to start training by her doctors and then try to get into shape is asking too much. If she is ready for Wimbledon in June I will be surprised!
According to ITF rules, a player must make herself available for two separate ties prior to the Olympics in order to participate in the Games. The player doesn’t necessarily have to be part of the squad that competes, but at least must be on site for the team nominations and show some type of commitment if she is to ask the Olympic Committee to look at her case on merit.
In 2007, Russia’s Maria Sharapova was unable to play in the Fed Cup final, but was on site and then played a first-round tie the following February against Israel. She was consequently allowed to compete in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The U.S. team lost to Belgium in the first round last weekend and must defeat Germany to stay in the eight-team World Group. Germany, which features Top-35 players Andrea Petkovic and Julia Goerges, may select to play the tie on indoor clay