The ITF announced the official team nominations for the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final between Italy and Russia in Cagliari, Sardinia on November 2-3.
The home team will be heavy favorites in the contest, as Russian captain Shamil Tarpischev was unable to attract any of his top players to the competition for a variety of reasons.
Italian Captain Corridor Barazzutti named world No. 7 Sara Errani, No. 13 Roberta Vinci, No. 31 Flavia Pennetta and Karin Knapp to his squad.
Russia named 138th-ranked Alexandra Panova, No. 186 Alisa Kleybanova, No. 231 Irina Khromacheva and No. 317 Margarita Gasparyan as his team.
The 24-year-old Panova, whom reached the 2013 Bogota final on clay, is Russia’s 12th highest ranked player. Former top 20 player Kleybanova accepted the invitation, but she is reticent about playing as she is in recovery from Hodgkin’s lymphoma and says she concerned about competing on outdoor red clay at the end of the season.
The teenager Khromacheva won the Roland Garros junior doubles title in 2012 and has had success on clay on the Futures level. Gasparyan, 19, has won four ITF singles title.
With to player Maria Sharapova out with a shoulder injury, No. 18 Maria Kirilenko would have been Russia’s top player had she chosen to play, but she told Tennisreporters.net that “it was tough decision but due my injures I feel not good enough and I can’t help my team. Team is more responsibility.”
However, Kirilenko, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Vesnina chose to play the WTA Tournament of Champions in Sofia, which also takes place next week. Former Roland Garros champion Svetlana Kuznetsova declined to play as she has had spats with the Russia tennis Federations. Ekaterina Makarova, who is scheduled to play doubles with Vesnina in Istanbul and was the hero of Russia’s semifinal win over Japan, is contending with a right wrist injury.