In anticipation of the Fed Cup Tie against the Czech Republic, I find myself reliving my experiences as an Israeli Fed Cup player 34 years ago. And thinking how much has changed since then. I first competed in Naples, Italy in 1974, when all teams played in one World Group tournament. Israel drew Indonesia in the first round. Most of the players had lives outside of tennis. I was a law student; other players had day jobs and families. As I observe the intensive preparations of our Fed Cup players this week, I recall that we did not have the support services and training facilities taken for granted today. One only has to look at our Fed Cup team then - two new immigrants who learned their tennis abroad - my teammate Paulina Peled in the USSR and I in South Africa - to understand that there was no culture of tennis in Israel. We traveled alone, without captain, coach, psychologist, medical assistance, reserve players or even national uniforms for public appearances. All this changed after 1976 when the Israel Tennis Center built the first of its 14 cutting edge facilities in Ramat Hasharon, including the Canada Stadium, which has hosted Israel's national teams for 30 years and will soon undergo a major renovation. The success of our modern day Fed Cup players conveys a subtle and empowering message that is influencing a whole generation of young girls. Each and every one, irrespective of her background, looks at these role models and sees exciting options for herself to excel. Tears streamed down my cheeks uncontrollably as I held our flag in the opening ceremony in Naples, feeling so proud to represent Israel, the country I had chosen as home, even as a terrorist attack on Maalot had just taken place in Israel. Paulina won her singles match, and I knew I had to win mine, against a much higher ranked opponent, for Israel to get a first-ever Fed Cup victory. While there is a heady exhilaration to winning any tennis match, nothing equals winning for your country. So if anyone catches me with a far-away gaze as Shahar and Zipi win yet another match point, please understand. I will be back in Naples in 1974, replaying the match point I won for Israel so long ago. Janine Strauss is CEO of Israel Tennis Center, a former Israel Women's Tennis Champion and Fed Cup player.