Fed Cup – Does it Matter if Serena or Venus Don’t Play?

The first round of Federation Cup, or Fed Cup for short, kicked off today with last year’s winner Italy up against Ukraine while Russia vs. Serbia offers more starpower with Svetlana Kuznetsova taking on Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic. The U.S. team, led by Melanie Oudin, squares of against France on the indoor clay.

With the most notable buzz of late being why Serena and Venus Williams chose to forgo Fed Cup due to, as they claim, their minority ownership of the Miami Dolphins and subsequent Super Bowl obligations (later disputed by the Dolphins themselves), one wonders aside from diehard fans, who really keeps track of Fed Cup anymore?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad that the multinational event allows players from smaller countries the chance to play against the big guns once in a while is still around, but to stay relevant, perhaps the Fed Cup needs to mix up the format or change the scheduling to make it exciting not just for the players, but for casual fans to get involved in. And by having events in smaller cities that get neglected by the WTA tour, it gives fans a chance to see top players live. But, for me, Fed Cup still feels like an afterthought to the main event. Of course living in the U.S, if Serena and Venus aren’t around, the interest drops. But I don’t think that Serena or Venus should be able to step in come the end of the year if the U.S. makes it to the final. They should at least show up a tie before then to prove they are serious.

If you don’t have cable and feel the need to keep track, you can pay for an online video feed here of all the matches.

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