Saturday, November 07, 2009

Fernandez and Farina Receive Fed Cup Award

Mary Joe Fernandez and Silvia Farina Honored with 2009 Fed Cup Award of Excellence
Silvia Farina (Elia)

NEWPORT, R.I., U.S.A., November 7, 2009 - The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) have announced that Mary Joe Fernandez, USA Fed Cup Captain, and Silvia Farina, the player with the most Fed Cup wins in Italy's history, are the recipients of the 2009 Fed Cup Award of Excellence. Presentation of the Fed Cup Award of Excellence will be made on Sunday, November 8 in Reggio Calabria, Italy during the Fed Cup World Group Final presented by BNP Paribas and contested between USA and Italy.

Presenting the award will be ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti and Jane Brown Grimes, president emerita of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum.

"Mary Joe and Silvia have played an important role in the history and growth of the Fed Cup, with Mary Joe leading Team USA to their first final in nine years and Silvia posting such tremendous results for Italy over the years," said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. "They have both been active contributors to the Fed Cup and we are honored today to present them with the 2009 Fed Cup Award of Excellence."

The Fed Cup Award of Excellence was inaugurated by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Tennis Federation in 2001. The Fed Cup Award of Excellence is presented to a person who represents the ideals and spirit of the Fed Cup competition and must be a member of a past or present Fed Cup team.

Current Team USA Captain Mary Joe Fernandez was a member of the 1996 winning Fed Cup team. During her career, Fernandez had seven WTA singles victories, 17 doubles titles and was ranked as high as No. #4 in the world. Fernandez captured two Grand Slam doubles victories (1996 French Open with Lindsay Davenport and 1991 Australian Open with Patty Fendick). In addition, she was the runner-up in three Grand Slam singles tournaments. Fernandez has two Olympic gold medals, won in partnership with Gigi Fernández. Fernandez retired in 2000 and is currently a commentator for ESPN.

Italy's Silvia Farina reached a career high world ranking of No. 11 in 2002. She captured three singles victories and 11 doubles victories during her career. In addition, she represented Italy on nine Fed Cup teams and three Olympic teams. Farina has a record 23 Fed Cup victories, more than any other Italian player in Fed Cup history.

Past recipients of the Fed Cup Award of Excellence are Spain's Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and Conchita Martinez in 2001; Great Britain's Virginia Wade in 2002; Larisa Savchenko of Latvia in 2003; Olga Morozova of Russia in 2004; Françoise "Frankie" Dürr of France in 2005; Sabine Appelmans of Belgium in 2006; Lea Pericoli of Italy in 2007; and Miguel Margets of Spain in 2008.

The 2009 World Group Fed Cup Final presented by BNP Paribas will be contested in Calabria, Italy between USA and Italy on November 7 - 8. The tournament will be streamed live on


CJS said...

i just discovered your blog.

it's fantastic!

keep up the good work.

huge tennis fan.

Graf_sampras said...

with so much lugubrious banalities in women's tennis coming up as "news"....

here's something REFRESHING:

No Sell-By Date: Comeback glory at 39 for Kimiko

By Kamakshi Tandon

Kimiko Date Krumm
Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images
Date Krumm won Seoul a day before her 39th birthday to become the second oldest tournament winner in WTA tour history.
Even in a year crammed with comebacks by former world No. 1s named Sharapova, Clijsters and Henin, Kimiko Date Krumm has managed to stand out.

The Japanese veteran's title-winning performance in Seoul last month, acclaimed around the globe, came a day before her 39th birthday and made her the second oldest tournament winner in the history of the women's tour.

Her age may have been the headline grabber, but Date herself would say the most impressive thing about her return to the winner’s circle is that it came after almost 12 years away from competition.

"It's not about age, it's the break," she told in an interview earlier this year.

In 1996, the former No. 4 surprised the tennis world by retiring at the peak of her career. Faced with increasing schedule requirements, Date called it quits, wanting to marry and settle down sooner rather than later. Then in April 2008, she just as unexpectedly decided to make a comeback (anyone could be forgiven for thinking she was Belgian).

Date was urged to resume playing by her husband, German professional car racer Michael Krumm, whom she met at the Le Mans car race in France after she had retired. (Krumm has said he had had his eye on Date ever since the mid-1990s, when he lived in Japan and raced for for Nissan.) After playing an exhibition against Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf in early 2008, Date dipped her toe back in the competitive waters with a few minor league events in Japan, and after climbing steadily for a year and a half, has yet to find herself out of her depth. Winning in Seoul vaulted her into the Top 100 in the WTA rankings, where the youthful-faced Date doesn't look out of place even though the average competitor’s age is about 24. If anything, it’s her slight stature—she’s only 5-foot-4—that looks dated by the standards of today’s game.

Graf_sampras said...

article continued


Thirtysomethings everywhere want to know: how does she do it?

Date credits jogging and Pilates with restoring her fitness to a point where pro tennis once again seemed feasible, though a comeback was initially the furthest thing from her mind.

"When I stopped in 1996, maybe two years I didn't do anything," she said of her post-retirement life in Japan. "I just relaxed—I didn't travel any more, I stayed at home, I didn't want to pick up the racquet, I didn't want to see the tennis."

After some time, Date began giving kids tennis lessons, which forced her to "start moving" again. Soon she was hitting with friends, swimming and jogging—just once a week at first, and then three or four times a week.

Next came an invitation to play an exhibition match, a critical event in many a comeback story. Date practiced assiduously for a year and a half to prepare for the event, and decided she would also enter the doubles at the WTA Tokyo Princess Cup in 2002.

But then, a twist in the tale—quite literally. Date injured her ankle during her doubles return, and eventually required surgery to repair her right Achilles’ tendon. That set the chain of events back a few years, though the jogging Date did as part of her rehabilitation led to her running the 2004 London marathon in a more-than-respectable three hours, 27 minutes.

The performance proved to be a milestone. "After the London marathon I start more exercise than before," she said. "One hour running almost every day. Not so much [weight] training—just running, Pilates.

"When I was a player before I had always a problem with my shoulder, so I couldn't hit with full power. But after retiring, I did the Pilates exercises and now I don't have any problem with my shoulder."

And the rest is history—or at least some notable trivia. Date is the oldest WTA titlist since Billie Jean King won Birmingham in 1983 at 39 years and 7 months, and with plans to play for another two years, the evergreen Date has a shot at eclipsing King's record. She was 0-8 in WTA-level matches before her big breakthrough in Seoul, but is now almost certain to get direct entry into the Australian Open next season. (Date qualified for the main draw at the 2009 Australian Open, her first major since 1996, and lost in the first round to seeded player Kaia Kanepi, 8-6 in the third.)

Graf_sampras said...

article continued


Many of Date's opponents are too young to even remember having seen her play on television. Date recalled a match against Shahar Peer at the Japan Open last year, saying, "Shahar Peer, she [didn't] know me but her father knows me. She explained to me after the match, that 'My father told me you were in the Top 10 before.'

"Most times the coach speaks to me—‘Ah, I remember you.' But not so much players."

Date still plays a mid-1990s game, a relic holding its own against modern versions that are more advanced but still have a few bugs in them. She is not powerful by today's standards, nor does she bamboozle opponents with spins and slices. She simply hits the ball very clean and flat, and over the course of a match, her steadiness and intelligent placement can end up winning out against the streakiness currently so common on the women’s tour.

Date also feels that doing commentary for Japanese television during her retirement has given her perspective during matches. "The view is more wide, and I got the other side, not [just] the players' [viewpoint]," she said. "When I'm losing, I've watched many kinds of matches. I can say to myself, a game is a game, sometimes it happens. So I can control my feelings."

Off the court, she has shed some of the shyness and uncertainty of the past.

"When I was young, I didn't like so much traveling. My English was a problem; it was difficult to speak," she recalled. "No computer, no mobile phone . . . [being] outside Japan felt very far. But now it's very close and more easy to travel. [I'm] enjoying myself more."

But as much fun as she's having these days, Date thinks she'll be pulling the plug on her second career a little early as well.

"I think I won't have any problem in my physical strength over the next five years," she said after winning in Seoul. "But I'm married... I have to have kids and have a lot of things to do."

Kamakshi Tandon is a freelance tennis writer and a frequent contributor to

Graf_sampras said...

39 year old woman..with kids and family..

looks more youthfully vibrant than any of these 20-somethings populating the tennis tour ....

Graf_sampras said...

it must be LOVE!! hehe.

Karen said...

Just saw someone posting over at that they heard a report that Oudin was criticising the WS for not playing Fed Cup. Is this truth or rumour?