Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Melanie Oudin, Liezel Huber and CoCo Vandeweghe played in the 2010 Fed Cup Final against Itlay in San Diego, Calif. November 6-7. A different team member shared her thoughts exclusively with USTA.com throughout the week.
Nov. 7: Melanie Oudin
I think Fed Cup can bring out the best in people and I really think it brought it out in me today in my win over Francesca. I played really, really well. It really stinks that we lost but we did better than last year when we lost 4-0. Hopefully we play Italy again next year in the final and we will get them!
I know exactly how CoCo feels right now after losing her match today. I lost both matches last year in the final, including the match that won the tie for Italy against Pennetta. It was pretty tough. I think we got a little revenge this year, I lost to Francesca last year and was able to beat her today. We are a good team, we love each other and we win as a team and lose as a team.
It has been a great week here in San Diego overall. We have such a good staff here, from the trainers to the doctors, hitting partners, coaches and everything. And the team, we all get along so well. Italy was just a more experienced team and were just better in the end. But like I said, hopefully by next year we will be the better team and take the title!
Nov. 4: CoCo Vandeweghe
It has been a great couple of days since we arrived here in San Diego and it has been a great week of practice. Doing the kids clinic yesterday was a lot of fun, especially holding it at the Barnes Tennis Center, where I kind of got my start in tennis was awesome. I enjoyed getting asked all those questions by the kids and finding out what they wanted to know about the life of a professional tennis player was pretty cool to hear and hopefully I helped them out.
They asked if it was hard being away from our families when we travel, what was the best advice we could give to young players and a bunch of other great questions.
I actually won my first tournament at the Barnes Tennis Center. I have played a lot there over the years and had lot of good battles.
As for our team this week, we are staying at the Hard Rock Hotel, which is definitely a very hip, interesting hotel. We have our breakfast, lunch and dinner on the roof of the hotel in an enclosed area with great views and we have a lot of fun. It is where we have our games of charades, although I have to say I failed miserably in our first round. We have not played since because we have been practicing late and everyone has been tired but we might get it going again tonight. The games do get a little intense. We are all competitors and we want to win no matter if it tennis or charades or whatever it is that we are goofing around doing!
Tomorrow we have the draw ceremony at SeaWorld where we will find out who is playing what matches this weekend - so stay tuned!
Nov. 3: Liezel Huber
This year has definitely been a challenge for me. My thinking is that you go through tough times so that you can learn and that it would be boring if everything was just great all the time. I have tried to focus on the positive. In my career, this has probably been the most challenging year. Early in the year, my longtime doubles partner Cara Black and I broke up. We had no intention of a long-term breakup but that is how it turned out unfortunately.
I have had 11 different doubles partners this year and it has been great in a way because I have really enjoyed playing with every single one and the results have been great with all of them, I have really gotten to know some unbelievable girls and made some great friendships. At the same time it has been challenging because you get spoiled when you play with one partner. With different partners, you don’t know what you are going to get the next week and sometimes I went to a tournament and did not know who my partner was going to be. In a way, it has been tough in my personal life. A lot of things happened this year. I can’t even go into it because there were such traumatic things that happened. But if I tell you I can’t wait until 2011 to come, in fact I wish it was here tomorrow.
Having said that, this is the highest note the year can end on, this Fed Cup final, and I am really happy to be there. The team is so inspiring and my job here this week is to motivate the team, keep everyone positive, keep us in a good groove and know if we try out hardest, we are giving ourselves the best chance possible to win. So for me, this is a really great way to end a difficult year. There is still a reward that came out of it that we can come together as a team and still compete for something as big as a Fed Cup title to bring back to our home nation.
I feel so comfortable here in San Diego. We have the best weather, we are very comfortable in our accommodations and the site is beautiful inside. It is just great being home. It is great not being out of the country and not having people there to support you. But this weekend, I have my family coming, I have friends from overseas coming and I have local friends from my home in Houston coming. But really I just wish the team the best for this week, for us to be healthy and fighting hard and that the fans come support us - it is so much appreciated!
Nov. 2: Bethanie Mattek-Sands
After finishing my year in Quebec City, I took two weeks off with no tennis and no fitness. I then started out with fitness again and the last few weeks I have been playing some points at home in Arizona. It was really nice being at home. I opted out of playing the tournaments in Asia this fall because I played a lot of matches at the end of the year, all in a row. The Olympus US Open Series just seemed to be a blur. I played almost everyday of the whole Series, both doubles and singles and I did well in both.
But I made the main draw of Australian Open, I am happy about that. I ended my season then in Quebec City, where I made the finals in both singles and doubles so I am feeling really good coming into the Fed Cup Final! I am confident in my play, I am confident in my matches so the biggest thing is just staying healthy, which is why I took the time off.
It is cool to be here in San Diego because I missed the Fed Cup Final last year in Italy, which I was really bummed about. But last year I was given the option, either I take time off or I have another surgery so obviously I took time off.
But I think this year is a different story, we are at home. San Diego is great, the weather is perfect and I think all the players are feeling comfortable here. We have only been here two days and everyone is playing great, feeling very good and you can almost feel the excitement in the air. I am pumped to be here. It is the first Fed Cup final I have been in and it is a big deal to be here!