As Canada prepare to take on the Czech Republic in Fed Cup action this weekend, team captain Heidi El Tabakh continued her pre-tie duties by meeting the media on Wednesday morning.
Having touched down in Europe on Sunday, the team has enjoyed a few practice sessions on Agrofert Arena’s clay court over the last couple of days, getting to grips with their surroundings ahead of the World Group play-off clash.
With the official draw still to come on Friday, the topic of conversation at the press conference centered around the warm welcome the team received in Prostejov as well as the facilities at the arena.
“It’s actually very convenient,” Heidi told the huddle of reporters and camera operators. “This is my third time here so it’s very familiar. It’s an easy setup when having such good welcome and they’ve been really accommodating to our needs so we’re very happy.”
The Czech Republic team, ranked no. 1 in the world, represents a stern test for the Canadians. Heidi is under no illusions as to the task facing her team, comprising Sharon Fichman, Gabriela Dabrowski, Rebecca Marino and 16-year-old Leylah Annie Fernandez. She commented: “I think we’re up against a very tough team. They have proven that in the past so we know it’s going to be tough.”
Both teams are without their top-ranked players with the likes of Petra Kvitova, Karolina Pliskova and Katerina Siniakova missing for the Czechs. Meanwhile, Indian Wells title-winner Bianca Andreescu and 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard are absent for Canada.
Asked whether that’s an issue, Heidi simply pointed to the plethora of quality players available to the team, saying: “No, I don’t think so. I think we’re lucky to have a lot of depth in our players and a strong group of girls.”