MOSCOW, January 31 (R-Sport) – Despite boasting five players in the world’s top 30, Russia is fielding an inexperienced Fed Cup quartet with only two top-level tournament appearances between them to face Australia in the first round next month.
Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpishchev said he didn’t even try to contact top players because the WTA tour had already left the continent after the Australian Open ended last week.
World number 240 Irina Khromacheva, 18, is the only one of the four with Fed Cup experience, having played at last year’s final, in which the Russians were trounced 5-0 by Italy.
The highest-ranked player in the team is world number 160 Victoria Kan. Doubles specialists Valeria Solovyeva, 21, and 16-year-old Veronika Kudermetova complete the lineup.
The Russian youngsters face a strong Australian squad led by world number 17 Sam Stosur, with 80th-ranked Casey Dellacqua and two youngsters, Ashleigh Barty and Storm Sanders, also on the list.
The match will be played on the outdoor hard courts of Domain Tennis Center in Hobart on February 8-9.
The winner of the tie will face either Germany or Slovakia in the semifinal.