The Russian Fed Cup team will be missing all of its top stars at next week’s final, as Maria Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Kirilenko will be absent from the once-prestigious event. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Kirilenko and Elena Vesnina have all chosen to play at the Tournament of Champions in Sofia, which takes place the same time.
The official Russian Fed Cup squad will include Alexandra Panova (138th), Irina Khromacheva (231st) and Margarita Gasparyan (317th) as its main players for the Nov. 2-3 final in Cagliari, Sardinia.
World No. 3 Maria Sharapova has been sidelined with a shoulder injury following the US Open and has not participated in the remainder of the 2013 WTA season while Kuznetsova refused to partake in the event due to “personal reasons.” Makarova and Petrova are both playing the WTA Championships this week in doubles. Kirilenko also claimed that injuries forced her out of the tournament.
@TennisReporters It was tough decision but due my injures I feel not good enough and I can’t help my team.Team is more responsibility☝
— Maria Kirilenko (@mkirilenko) October 23, 2013
Russian team captain Shamil Tarpischev has candidly admit that his team does not stand ay chance of success next week and that the priority is to train the young players for future events.
‘We practically have no chance to win the title,” Russian team captain Shamil Tarpischev said. ”We are going not to win but to warm up our young players.”
Italy on the other hand, will be sending their four top players to the final. Sara Errani, Roberta Vinci, Flavia Pennetta and Karin Knapp, who are ranked within the top 50 in the world, have all been confirmed for the event.
Russia is a four-time champion at the event and last defeated Italy in the 2007 final.