(photo credit: AP)
Israel Fed Cup captain Lior Mor believes Estonia will be a slight favorite in the World Group II playoff tie to be played this upcoming Saturday and Sunday.
The national team will fly out to Estonia on Monday and will be looking for a first Fed Cup victory since 2007 to maintain its place among the world's top 16 nations.
"We are aware of the significance of this tie and of the consequences of its result. A victory will ensure we remain in the World Group for another year, but a loss will see us drop down to the Europe/Africa zone for the first time in years," Mor said on Sunday.
"The tie is quite open because the teams are almost equal. But since Estonia is hosting the tie it has a slight edge."
Estonia has won seven straight Fed Cup ties and is led by world number 20 Kaia Kanepi, with Maret Ani (95) the team's number 2.
Tzipi Obziler (227 in the world), who celebrated her 36th birthday on Sunday, will equal Anna Smashnova's Fed Cup appearances record of 61 ties this weekend.
"I'm excited ahead of every Fed Cup tie, but obviously this will be special," Obziler said.
"I'm happy that after so long I'm still representing the country. I hope to break the record, but I don't know what will happen next year."
Shahar Pe'er (50) won both her singles rubbers in Israel 3-2 loss to Ukraine in February and will likely have to do so once more in Tallinn for the national team to have any chance of claiming a victory.
"I hope the fact I won both my matches in Ukraine will give me confidence for this tie," Pe'er said.
"This is a very important weekend. We're coming off two tight losses and we feel this tie is wide open. We have the ability to claim a victory and remain in the World Group."