Tennis Canada announced Wednesday that Françoise Abanda (Montreal, QC), Eugenie Bouchard (Montreal, QC), Sharon Fichman (Toronto, ON), and Aleksandra Wozniak (Blainville, QC) will represent Canada in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II play-offs against Slovakia on April 16 and 17, 2016. The tie will be played indoors on red clay at the Aegon Arena in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Canada will be facing a team that has not been excluded from World Group II since 2006. Slovakia reached the Fed Cup semifinals in 2013 and won the title in 2002 when they played as Czechoslovakia. For their last tie against Australia, the Slovaks were represented by Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (no. 31), Dominika Cibulkova (no. 53), Jana Cepelova (no. 121), and Daniela Hantuchova (no. 183). The team that will face Canada will be announced later this morning.
“We know the team that we’re bringing to Slovakia has what it takes to be among the top 16 countries in the world,” said Sylvain Bruneau, captain of the Canadian Fed Cup team. “We have worked hard over the past few years to earn our place among the elite nations, and we will do everything we can to win this tie and keep our place in World Group. We have a tough challenge ahead against a very good team from Slovakia, but we are ready to face it.”
After making her Fed Cup debut last year, Abanda will be making her fourth appearance for Canada. Against Romania last April, the 18-year-old earned the biggest win of her career against then world no. 33 Irina-Camelia Begu. In February against Belarus, she picked up her second victory against world no. 74 Olga Govortsova. Abanda has improved her ranking by nearly 100 spots (no. 259) over the past few weeks after winning the second pro title of her career the $25,000 Irapuato Challenger in Mexico.
After missing Canada’s tie against Belarus in February, Bouchard is back with the Canadian team. She holds a Fed Cup record of 11-4 and helped lead Canada to a berth in the prestigious World Group in 2014 when she won all of her matches against Serbia and Slovakia. Ranked no. 45 in the world, the 22-year-old has reached two WTA singles finals this season in Hobart and Kuala Lumpur. Bouchard is kicking off her clay court season this week in Charleston.
This is Fichman’s 17th Fed Cup nomination and she holds an impressive 23-9 record. In Columbia in February of 2013, she won five matches in singles and doubles, a performance that earned her a nomination for the Fed Cup Heart award. She is the first Canadian to be nominated for this honour. In 2005, Fichman became the youngest player to represent Canada in Fed Cup at 14 years of age. She is currently the no. 2 ranked doubles player in Canada at no. 126 in the world.
At 28 years old, Wozniak is the veteran of the Canadian squad. She returned to the team in February and won the 40th match of her Fed Cup career in Quebec City against Govortsova. Her 40 victories is a Canadian record ahead of Sonya Jeyaseelan’s 29 wins. She also hold the records for most singles wins (32) and ties played (35).
This will be the third meeting between Canada and Slovakia in Fed Cup. Canada won the last tie 3-1 in Quebec City in 2014. The Slovaks won the first meeting 5-0 in 1997.
The tie will be broadcast on TVA Sports and Sportsnet. The matches will begin at 6 a.m. E.T. on Saturday and Sunday at 7 a.m. E.T. on Sunday.