Israel’s Fed Cup team will face Turkey in its Europe/Africa Zone Group I opener
in Eilat on Wednesday, a tie it can’t afford to lose if it has any intention of
advancing from Pool C.
Amos Mansdorf is captaining the side for the first
time on Wednesday and will hope to get more out of Shahar Pe’er, ranked No. 91
in the world, and Julia Glushko (181) than his predecessor Lior Mor managed to
in the past two years when the Group I matches were also played in
Turkey is undoubtedly the weakest team in Pool C, which also
includes Poland and Romania, with Cagla Buyukakcay (163), Pemra Ozgen (284) and
Basak Eraydin (309) the side’s top three players.
Israel will face
Romania on Thursday and Poland on Friday before playing its final tie on
Each tie will consist of three matches, two singles rubbers and
Only the pool winner will progress to a tie against the
first-place finisher in Pool A for a place in April’s World Group II
With Poland boasting world No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska and her
sister Urszula Radwanska (37) and Romania having three top-50 players in Sorana
Cirstea (27), Irina-Camelia Begu (47) and Simona Halep (49), Israel’s chances of
winning the pool seem small to say the least despite having home-court
However, the tie against Turkey is still especially
significant as the nations in last place in each pool will play-off to determine
which two teams will be relegated to Group II in 2014.
“I’m very proud to
be representing the country every year since I was 15,” said Pe’er, who has
already suffered four defeats to players ranked 100 or lower this year. “I’m
sure this will be a quality tournament and I hope that as many fans as possible
come out to watch the matches.”
Israel’s pool looks to be the toughest of
the four with Austria, Belarus and Croatia in Pool A, Bosnia, Great Britain,
Hungary and Portugal in Pool B and Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Netherlands and
Slovenia in Pool D.
For a second straight year, one of the most
recognizable faces in Eilat will not even be a player, with Great Britain being
captained by Andy Murray’s mother, Judy.
Judy Murray was pleased with her
team’s draw and is hoping her side can progress to World Group II this year
after falling short in the playoffs in 2012.
“It would be very difficult
to come up against a team that has a very strong No. 1,” Murray told the
official Fed Cup website. “Poland has got [Agnieszka] Radwanksa who is Top 5 and
Belarus may have [Victoria] Azarenka, obviously the best player in the world.
Romania is also a very solid team; they probably have about four girls who are
ranked inside the Top 50. I think you could probably say that I was quite happy
to have avoided all three of them!” Murray was looking forward to returning to
“For me last year was obviously the first year of being involved
with Fed Cup and it was a great experience,” said Murray, whose team is led by
Heather Watson and Laura Robson.
“We’re going back to the same venue in
Eilat so we know what to expect in terms of the court surface and so forth and
the organization of the event. We are very much aiming to get out of that zone
again and into another World Group play-off.”