London, Apr 17, 2014: The ITF has announced the first four winners of the 2014 Fed Cup Heart Award. Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska claims her second career Heart Award for her performance in the World Group and World Group II first round category, while the Zone Group I winners are Romania’s Simona Halep, Brazil’s Teliana Pereira and Uzbekistan’s Sabina Sharipova. The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas ties took place in February.
The four Heart Award recipients were decided by a public vote on FedCup.com and FedCup.com/es that saw over 60,000 fans make their selection. Ten players were initially shortlisted by a judging panel consisting of ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti and a group of former Fed Cup players and members of the international media. All the winners receive a cheque to be donated to their chosen charity.
Radwanska, Halep and Pereira will all receive their awards during the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group semifinals, and World Group and World Group II play-offs taking place on 19-20 April.
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “There were some outstanding performances during the Fed Cup ties in February, so I would like to congratulate all four players for coming out on top of the public vote. The Fed Cup Heart Award continues to reward players for the commitment they make to their team and the competition as a whole. I am sure that all the winners will take great pride in making their donations to charity.”
The Fed Cup Heart Award is an ITF initiative that was first presented to USA’s Melanie Oudin at the 2009 Fed Cup Final. It aims to recognise players who have represented their country with distinction, shown exceptional courage on court and demonstrated outstanding commitment to their team. A total of five players will be recognised in 2014.
Agnieszka Radwanska won all three live rubbers for her country in a 3-2 victory away against Sweden in World Group II. The 25-year-old defeated Sofia Arvidsson 61 61 on the opening day to level the tie at 1-1. On day two she overcame Johanna Larsson 64 61, before partnering Alicja Rosolska to a 62 62 deciding doubles victory over Arvidsson and Larsson.
Simona Halep recovered from the loss of her opening singles rubber to lead Romania into the World Group II play-offs for the first time since 1999. The 22-year-old was beaten by Timea Babos in a 2-1 victory over Hungary, but bounced back with singles victories over Johanna Konta and Elina Svitolina to extend her Fed Cup singles win-loss record to 8-1.
Teliana Pereira won all four of her singles rubbers to lead Brazil into the World Group II play-offs for the first time in ten years. The 25-year-old Brazilian No. 1 defeated Domenica Gonzalez, Nikkita Fountain and Mariana Duque-Marino at the round-robin stage, before overcoming Veronica Cepede Royg in the promotional play-off.
Sabina Sharipova won all four singles rubbers and one of two doubles rubbers to help Uzbekistan reach the promotional play-off, before losing 2-1 to Thailand. Playing at No. 2, the 19-year-old gave her country the lead in every tie, including the promotional play-off. Her only defeat was a three-set loss in the deciding doubles of the promotional play-off.
About Fed Cup by BNP Paribas
Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the World Cup of Tennis. It is the largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with 95 nations taking part in 2014. The event celebrated its 50th birthday in 2013 in the ITF’s centenary year. The title sponsor is BNP Paribas, the Official Bank of Fed Cup. Adecco (Official HR Sponsor) is an international sponsor, and Wilson Sporting Goods (Official Ball) is an international partner.
To be presented at the Final: World Group semifinals
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL): World Group / World Group II first round
Simona Halep (ROU): Europe/Africa Zone Group I
Teliana Pereira (BRA): Americas Zone Group I
Sabina Sharipova (UZB): Asia/Oceania Zone Group I
Value of Cheques
$10,000: World Group semifinals winner (x1)
$6,000: World Group / World Group II first round winner (x1)
$1,000: Zone Group I winners (x3)
Francesco Ricci Bitti (ITA), ITF President
Sabine Appelmans (BEL), former Fed Cup player/captain
Mercedes Paz (ARG), former Fed Cup player
Craig Gabriel (AUS), international journalist
Sandra Harwitt (USA), international journalist
Corinne Dubreuil (FRA), international photographer
Ray Giubilo (ITA), international photographer. —- ITF