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Porsche Team Germany in good spirits before the Fed Cup tie against Australia
“We feel at home in Stuttgart”
With the support of the crowd in the Porsche Arena, Porsche Team Germany will be looking to remain in the World Group in the Fed Cup tie against Australia over the weekend. “We feel at home in Stuttgart,” said team captain Barbara Rittner, who will be appearing for the third time in a row in the state capital on 21 and 22 April. “Australia is a really tough opponent but with the fantastic spectators behind us, we’ll do everything we can to turn our home advantage into a win.”
Porsche Team Germany with Angelique Kerber, Andrea Petkovic, Julia Görges and Anna-Lena Grönefeld have been preparing in the Porsche Arena for the play-off since Monday. Just who she will send out on court against the strong Australians including their top player Samantha Stosur is something Barbara Rittner wants to decide after further practice sessions on Friday. Only Angelique Kerber is a certainty. The 24-year-old German won her first ever rubber for Germany in the Fed Cup first round tie against title-holders the Czech Republic in February and then her season really took off. In Paris, she celebrated her first ever WTA Tour title, she reached the semifinals at the million dollar tournament in Indian Wells and last weekend she won the indoor event in Copenhagen.
“The wins have given her masses of confidence and it doesn’t matter on which surface. I’ll obviously be nominating her,” said Barbara Rittner. Angelique Kerber showed herself to be a team player at the press conference in the Porsche Arena: “We want to have success together as a team and we support each other no matter who’s out on court.”
For the first time since her long injury break due to a stress fracture in her lower back, Andrea Petkovic is back in the Porsche Team Germany squad. Whether she will play or not is not something she is really thinking about. She assured everybody: “The most important thing is that I’m back to one thousand per cent fitness and that I’m not in pain any more. I’ll try to support the team as best as I possibly can, whether it’s on the court or on the bench, we’ll see. I’ve been practicing well over the past few days but practice is different to a real match.” A lot speaks in favour of Julia Görges being chosen for the second singles on Saturday. She last year won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in the Porsche Arena and produced a top class performance against Petra Kvitova in the tie against the Czech Republic – additionally she has already won twice against Samantha Stosur, the world No. 5.
However, Barbara Rittner did not want to lay her cards openly on the table three days before the first balls are struck in earnest. “In the end,” she said, “the form on the day will decide who will be nominated.”
Beginning at the same time as the Fed Cup play-off against Australia is the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. Seventeen of the world’s Top 10 players, including Victoria Azarenka, the new world No. 1, and, for the first time, superstar Maria Sharapova will be competing at the 35th edition of the long-standing tournament in Stuttgart which goes on until 29 April. Tickets for the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix and the Fed Cup are available via Easy Ticket Service (telephone +49 711-2555 555, Internet www.easyticket.de) or at the Porsche Arena box offices during the tournament week.
21. August 67
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS