November 2nd, 2017

No Azarenka Makes U.S. Big Favorite in Fed Cup Final

General News Pro Tennis

The U.S. Fed Cup team became the overwhelming favorite to win its first Fed Cup title in 17 years this week when both teams announced their line-ups for the 2017 Fed Cup Final next weekend, Nov. 11-12 in Minsk, Belarus.

The Belarus team, seeking its first-ever title, will be without its top player, former world No. 1-ranked Victoria Azarenka, who must stay in California while custody is decided on her 10-month-old son.

“It’s a pity but we just can’t change anything right now,” said Belarus captain Eduard Dubrov.

Without Azarenka the Belarus squad has no players ranked in the Top 50, and will be led by 19-year-old Aryna Sabalenka, who is currently at No. 78 on the WTA rankings. The U.S. squad will be without their arguably Top 2 Americans, Serena Williams who is on leave after having her first child, and Venus Williams who last weekend lost in the championship match of the WTA Finals.

But the U.S. will still bring plenty of firepower in Top 15-ranked players Sloane Stephens and Coco Vandeweghe, along with Shelby Rogers and Alison Riske. Stephens won this year’s US Open, while Vandeweghe was a semifinalist at both the Australian Open and US Open.

The best-of-five match series will be played at the Chizhovka Arena in Minsk on an indoor hard court. Chizhovka Arena hosted Belarus’ two other home ties earlier this year.

The U.S. won the last of its record 17 Fed Cup titles in 2000. The most recent appearance in the final for the U.S. squad was 2010, losing to Italy 3-1.

Play begins on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 2:30 p.m. local time (6:30 a.m. ET) with two singles matches. On Sunday, play will continue, starting at 2 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET) with two reverse singles matches and the doubles match. A revised schedule for Sunday may take place if a team clinches in the third or fourth match. Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage.

Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with approximately 100 nations taking part each year. The U.S. holds an overall 148-36 record in Fed Cup competition with a 108-30 record in away and neutral ties. For more information, including access to player and historical Fed Cup records, go to or