Americas Group II, the final Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Zone Group event of 2013 gets underway this week at the the Maya Country Tennis club in Santa Tecla, El Salvador.
Eleven nations will be divided into two groups to contest the event which runs on 17-20 July. The winners of each group will gain promotion to the 2014 Americas Group I.
Miguel Irigoyen, secretary of the El Salvador National Tennis Association has made it clear that hosting the Fed Cup event brings “pride and national prestige” to the Central American nation. “There are very good teams to the point that it´s difficult to say which ones are the best ones,” said Irigoyen. “Bahamas have very good players like Larikah Russell and the junior Simone Pratt. Puerto Rico have a great junior player in Yolimar Ogando, while Uruguay have two very competitive players and Ecuador have traditionally had very good players. Therefore, I think that any team will be hard to beat.”
Virginia Sadi, the Uruguayan Fed Cup captain, also highlighted her favourite nations: “Every team is difficult, but Bahamas, Bolivia and Ecuador are the strongest ones. And so is El Salvador as they are playing at home,” said Sadi. “Carolina de los Santos (from Uruguay) is a very experienced player, she has a very varied style and she´s powerful. She also has a very special advantage; she has represented Uruguay as a junior in different South American competitions and has been for four years in a college in the US, where the level is very high. Luckily, she´s playing Fed Cup for Uruguay again this year and will be a very good addition to the rest of the team.”
Juan Carlos Escudero, Puerto Rico´s captain since 2005 is also very positive about his country´s chances in this event. “All our players have the experience of having played in El Salvador on several occasions. Moreover, we will arrive a few days in advance in order to adapt to the environment.” Escudero will rely on a team led by Yolimar Ogando, who has been playing Fed Cup for the last two years and who has 15 appearances in the competition, Ana Sofia Cordero, also with two years’ experience and Erica Braschi, who has only played once in Fed Cup before.
Maikol Calvo, the Costa Rican captain has also analysed his team ahead of the continental competition. “All of them (Costa Rica´s Fed Cup team) have something special. Mariela Calderon has very good shots from the baseline and is very brave. Andrea Brenes has also a very good style from the baseline and a great volley. Laura Viquez is very quick and has a very good footwork. They are improving a lot year after year.”
And from Guatemala, the captain Anthony Vasquez said: “We must have a big respect for all the teams but especially towards those that have just been relegated and have a very rich tennis history. We have to be good opponents to them and face them the best we can when the moment comes”
The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Americas Group II event will take place in El Salvador 16-21 July at the the Maya Country Tennis club in Santa Tecla. Follow it on www.fedcup.com, www.fedcup.com/es and on Twitter (@fedcup and @fedcup_es) and Facebook (Fed Cup).