There aren’t many weeks on the tennis calendar that are free so when they said the Fed Cup Final was moving to a mid-season event with a week long finals finding the space was key.
Immediately it was announced to take part between the WTA event in Charleston and Stuttgart a week into the clay court season but just over a week after players have finished their time in Indian Wells and Miami.
The format needed a big change-up and with that you want to attract the best, so the question is.. will we see the best in April?
There is a possibility that 13 of the current top 20 could feature for their countries. Some countries are stronger than others so it would naturally take the work load off some but for others if they went onto win the title could end up playing ten matches in six days if they played singles and doubles in each tie.
We saw some players come out to play the play-offs, I wouldn’t be surprised if that were to just boost their Olympic eligibility if they didn’t play a Fed Cup tie last year then they had to play one this year to be eligible by June.
Charleston is a popular WTA event so for those who go deep on the finals on Sunday to then play potentially on Monday would be out of the question as it is almost a 14 hour flight to Hungary from Charleston.
The schedule will be out soon to sell tickets so it can’t be shuffled about if a USA player is in the final for example. Would they do want they did at the Davis Cup Finals and have Spain and Serbia the last to play their first round robin tie as they expected Nadal and Djokovic to go deep in London? Maybe.
Six of that top thirteen are set to play in Charleston. Ash Barty, Belinda Bencic, Sofia Kenin, Madison Keys, Garbine Muguruza & Amanda Anisimova. Muguruza, Amanda and Madison didn’t play in the play-offs and I’d be surprised if they went to the finals where as Ash & Belinda would be needed!
Kvitova, Kenin & Bencic are also set to play in Stuttgart as well so it will be interesting what happens.
The downside for Fed Cup is that there are no points or prize money on offer for the players.
At this stage of the season this could be a tough sell for players.