It happens more in women's tennis, seemingly, than men's where a
country's major stars opt out of the Davis or Fed Cup in order to concentrate
on their own career.
With the exception of Andy Murray, who has only sporadically turned
out for Great Britain
in the Davis Cup since 2008, most of the men's top players make themselves
available for their country. Most of the time, at least.
Women's tennis is a different story, however. Serena and Venus
Williams rarely play Fed Cup tennis. Mind you, particularly recently, they
rarely play tennis outside of the Grand Slams either.
And just last weekend, Italian's Francesca Schiavone and Flavia
Pennetta came under fire from team-mate Roberta Vinci for withdrawing from
their Fed Cup semi-final against Russia.
The absence of the world numbers four and 20 left Italy with little
to no chance against a strong Russian team boasting world number three Vera
Zvonareva and world number 13 Svetlana Kuznetsova (a former French and US Open
champion) for the singles rubbers.
And the defending champions were duly whitewashed 5-0 as Russia cruised
into the final leaving world number 37 Vinci fuming after her second singles
loss of the weekend.
"If they didn't want to come it's their problem," Vinci
said of Schiavone and Pennetta.
"I don't care about Schiavone and Pennetta, they are not on
this team. Right now I'm number one for Italy and Sara (Errani) is
number two. We're here and we try to give our best."
Just as a side point, Samantha Stosur also withdrew from Australia's Fed Cup clash last weekend, a
play-off against Ukraine
that the Aussies lost - and as a consequence found themselves relegated.
It could very easily be argued that players should feel an
obligation to play for their country. After all, they received the benefit
of training facilities of said country when they were growing
up, so why shouldn't they be made to give something back by playing in these
On the other hand, they have paid to use those facilities and,
especially in the case of Schiavone and Pennetta, have given a
considerable amount of time and energy to the Fed Cup over the years.
Not that it is something Vinci would want to hear - but Schiavone and
Pennetta have almost single-handedly won Italy the Fed Cup three times in the
past five years (2006, 2009 and 2010) as well as helping them to the final in
2007 when they lost to Russia.
Why shouldn't they be allowed a break?
The same goes for Stosur, who has been a mainstay in the Australian
team for years. Struggling mentally and for form, flying halfway around the
world twice (from Charleston to Melbourne and then from Melbourne to Europe)
would be the last thing that Stosur needed as she prepares for the French Open,
a tournament that she has reached the final of for each of the past two years.
Tramlines would be inclined to judge players on a case-by-case
basis and give those that have a history in turning out for their countries
the benefit of the doubt, whilst being a little harsher on those who rarely do.
That said, Serena and Venus Williams got where they are today
through determination - not only their own, but also that of their father, Richard.
Do they owe the United
States anything given that they have taken
What do you think? Should players be obliged to play tennis for their
country or is tennis an individual-enough sport that players should be free to think only of
their own careers if that is their preference?
Leave your comments below.
TWEET OF THE
Almost exactly one year on from their 2010 wedding, Sania Mirza lets slip that the
honeymoon period may be over between herself and cricketing husband Shoaib
Malik: Got back from gym now..dead tired!me trying to dodge@realshoaibmalik wants to go
out,he has way too much energy for my liking..haha lol:)
Yes, this section is still running. Tramlines enjoys it way too
much to can the competition despite it becoming more than a little one-sided.
But, what's this, a poor loss for A-Bog (US)? That'll open things
right back up again. Well, ish.
The man nicknamed Bogie by his family has been on a roll of late
and has come perilously close to breaking into the top 100 after wins over a
succession of top ranked players, including Andy Murray.
But last week he took to Tallahassee in a bid to prolong the hardcourt season
for as long as possible. The only problem for A-Bog (US) was that it probably
wasn't worth the trip as the world number 108 went down in straight sets to Amir
Delic, ranked 303, in the first round.
This could be a point for A-Bog (GB),
Well that depends.
A-Bog (GB) didn't actually play last week.
Should a point be given to our British hero on account of no action being
better than a loss to someone ranked almost 200 places below you?
Why not? TL is in a generous mood today. Plus
it at least gets the season standings, if not the overall ones, a little bit
That's two points in as many weeks for
A-Bog (GB). Can he maintain this run? Will a change of surface as the Tour
moves to the European clay help or hinder his cause?
Find out next week!
Standings: A-Bog (US)
25-15 A-Bog (GB). Season standings: 5-2.
Serena Williams is brilliant fodder for this blog usually. In fact
TL had to fight every instinct it had not to award her Tweet of the Week yet
again. But in the end, Mirza won out and Serena has to be content with an
appearance in the fashion crimes section instead.
Andy Murray's new haircut, if that's what you can call it, is a
shocker. To quote TL's grandmother, he looks as though he's been dragged
through a hedge backwards. It's a bouffant atrocity although in direct
contrast, his form does appear to be getting better as his hair gets worse.
However, nothing is as horrific as the sight that greeted TL when
it awoke on Thursday morning and saw the pink one-piece, skin-tight gimp suit
that Serena was prancing about in on her first day back in training since last
TL choked on its cereal before going to lie down in
a darkened room in a bid to erase the image from its brain. Why, Serena? Why?
And for good measure, why don't you click right here to
take a look at a rundown of the worst of the Williams sisters' outfits over the
years - a list inspired by this week's latest horrorshow.