Photo: Urs Lindt/freshfocus
Tennis Canada announced on Tuesday that Leylah Fernandez (Laval, QC), Rebecca Marino (Vancouver, BC), Sharon Fichman (Toronto, ON) and Carol Zhao (Toronto, ON) will represent Team Canada in the Billie Jean King Cup Play-Off against Serbia on April 16 and 17. The tie will be played on the hard courts of the Sport Hall Ibar in Kraljevo, Serbia.
“We are all looking forward to this tie in Kraljevo,” commented Team Canada captain Heidi El Tabakh. “In particular, we are excited to represent Canada in our first tie in the newly-named Billie Jean King Cup. It is an honor to represent our country in a competition named after a true pioneer not just for women’s tennis, but women in general. Serbia has a very tough team and it will not be an easy task for us, but we are ready and will do our very best to get the victory and book our place in next year’s Qualifiers.”
Fernandez’s previous outing for Canada’s Billie Jean King Cup team was last year in Biel, Switzerland where she produced a shock upset over then-World No. 5 Belinda Bencic in a 3-1 defeat. The current No. 72 on the WTA Tour won the first title of her young career last month, beating Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic 6-1, 6-4 in the final of the Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey, Mexico.
The team will also be able to count on 30-year-old Marino, who will be competing in her fourth tie for Team Canada. Her most recent Billie Jean King Cup outing came in 2019 against the Czech Republic in Prostejov where Canada were beaten 4-0 by a strong Czech team. This will be the second time in her Billie Jean King Cup career that Marino has faced Serbia having been part of the Canadian team that competed in the World Group II quarter-final in 2011.
Also joining the team for the first time since that 2019 tie against the Czech Republic is Billie Jean King Cup veteran Fichman. Having made her Team Canada debut in 2005, Fichman has gone on to compete in 28 ties and holds an impressive 24-10 record in Billie Jean King Cup action, with 15 of those wins coming in doubles. Currently ranked No. 54 in doubles on the WTA Tour, she will be a key team member for the tie in Serbia.
Rounding out the team is 25-year-old Carol Zhao, who will be playing in her third Billie Jean King Cup tie. Zhao has previously represented Team Canada in the 2016 World Group II quarter-final against Belarus as well as the 2018 World Group II quarter-final against Romania. She holds a 1-1 record in doubles in Billie Jean King Cup action.
Should Team Canada defeat Serbia, they will compete in the Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers next year for a chance to reach the 2022 Finals. Defeat will see them drop into the Regional Group I.
All matches from the tie will be broadcast live in Canada on Sportsnet ONE and streamed on SN NOW. The French broadcast details for this tie will be confirmed at a later date.
Friday April 16, beginning at 2 p.m. local time (8 a.m. Eastern Time)
Two singles matches
Saturday April 17, beginning at 11 a.m. local time (5 a.m. Eastern Time)
Two singles matches, followed by a doubles match
*The official draw on April 15th will determine the tie’s match ups. All matches will be best-of-three sets.