Pick Your Team

If you were Mary Joe Fernandez, would you ask the Williams sisters to play in the Fed Cup final (and insure a victory) or go with the “no name team” that got you there?

Last weekend, the “no name team” of Melanie Oudin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands played singles and Mattek-Sands teamed with newly-minted U.S. citizen Liezel Huber in the deciding win over the Russian women.

The United States will now host Italy (who beat the U.S. in the finals last year) in November.

Both Williams sisters were “unavailable” for the matches this year; but Coach Mary Joe Fernandez held open the final singles slot until just two days before the semi-finals in case one of them could play.

Should she do the same in November, trying to put together the best possible team for the U.S, sell more tickets to the event, and get higher TV ratings for the women’s Fed Cup…. or should she now tell the winning no-name team they are the ones and to plan their schedules?

In the post match interview, South African born Liezel Huber emotionally talked about how much she loves this country and felt “she owed it to America” to become a citizen and play for the Fed Cup team.

Young Melanie Oudin has clearly voiced her opinion, saying “I think that is the fairest thing to do, is to bring the team that’s gotten you there. You should have enough faith in that team to be able to bring them to the finals.”

My whole life, I have felt I would rather have the average player on my team, who tries his hardest; rather than the superstar, who plays when and if they want. So for me, it is a no-brainer: Tell Melanie, Bethanie, and Liezel to pack their bags to play!

6 thoughts on “Pick Your Team

  1. My emotions tell me Mary Jo should go with the team that got them there. My brain says, “Don’t use the Williams sisters? What are you crazy?”. Maybe the answer lies in finding out why the Wiliams sisters could not play before. It they had a legitimate excuse that is verifiable, then ignore their absence and they can now play. But if it was something else, then stay with the team that exists. Of course, how do you define “legitimate”?

    Another approach: Put it to a vote of the team that got you there, and make sure the vote is completely anonymous with no pressure and influence on the team members so you get a truly honest, and self-interested response. Then do what the vote dictates.

    I am glad I am not Mary Jo. LOL

    Marty – in theory, they were both “injured.” geo

  2. George, I agree with you big time, unless there are extenuating circumstances that I do not know of which I think is not the case. This goes for club play too when you support a team and give it your all, you should have the chance to play in the big one.

  3. Make it 3 for 3 with both Marty and John writing my brief for me. It just doesn’t seem right not to let your fighters have the chance to hoist the trophy themselves. I’d feel hollow if the W’s won, and not so bad if Melanie, Liezel and Bethanie just couldn’t do it. Note: this is no knock on the W’s, they’ve got their lives to live, too.

  4. I’m going to make it 4 for 4 — let’s give the team who have made the commitment,
    and have gotten us to the Final, the chance to “hoist the trophy”, as Kevin said.
    I think that a win with the current group would be a sweeter victory, having come
    through each round together, and a loss in the final wouldn’t be the worst
    thing in the world. If the W’s are willing to commit from day one next year, and are
    willing to play through thick and thin, let’s welcome them aboard — otherwise, it
    looks like we have a very competitive team for next season on our current Fed
    Cup roster.

  5. George & friends: Please understand tennis begets numerous injuries… If they said they were injured, I think we can believe them. I will always remember a closeup on the foot of one of the Williams sisters. It really , really looked bad, if not horrible. Now they’re both older, & any chance they have they would surely want to play. Let Mary Jo be… .. If she gets them, more power to her.

    Bob – Really?? How many times have you seen pros claim injury just to avoid the commitment of playing in a tournament when they didn’t want to? geo

Comments are closed.