Four of the top five US women in the WTA singles rankings will skip the country’s Fed Cup final against the Czech Republic, including both Williams sisters and Sloane Stephens.
Instead, the roster announced for the defending champions by captain Kathy Rinaldi on Wednesday includes No.35 Danielle Collins, No.48 Sofia Kenin and No.63 Alison Riske in singles, along with Nicole Melichar, who is ranked 15th in doubles.
???????? Captain Kathy Rinaldi has named the USA team to face Czech Republic in this year's #FedCupFinal! ????????
— Fed Cup (@FedCup) October 31, 2018
No.6 Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion and 2018 French Open runner-up, is sitting out the November 10-11 matches on an indoor hard court at Prague, as are No.15 Serena Williams, a 23-time major champion, and No.40 Venus Williams, who has seven Grand Slam singles titles.
No.16 Madison Keys, who lost to Stephens in last year’s final at Flushing Meadows, also will miss the Fed Cup final.
According to WTA Insider, Keys told Rinaldi that she was unsure how her knee would respond following her appearance at this week’s WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai. She would rather not make herself available for the tie, rather than be named in the squad only to pull out later.
Keys won her opening match in Zhuhai in straight sets over Daria Kasatkina on Wednesday.
— USTA (@usta) October 31, 2018
The Czech Republic is seeking its sixth title in eight years with a roster that includes two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and 2016 US Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova, who are both ranked in the top 10. The team also includes Katerina Siniakova – the new doubles world No.1 – and Barbora Strycova.
The US are the Fed Cup defending champions; the team beat Belarus 3-2 in last year’s final, a victory anchored by CoCo Vandeweghe.
Vandeweghe is also missing from the US team this year, as she rehabilitates an ankle injury.
I’d like to share that although I won’t be playing Fed Cup this year, I wouldn’t trade the work and sacrifices that I’ve made the last two years for my teams and country for anything in the world. Good luck to all in the finals! I’ll be cheering you on! pic.twitter.com/c67BtWvXk0
— CoCo Vandeweghe (@CoCoVandey) October 8, 2018
Stephens and Keys both played in the United States’ semifinal victory over France in April.
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