Voting opens for final Fed Cup Heart Award

London, Oct 8, 2013: The ITF today announced a shortlist of four players to receive the last Fed Cup Heart Award of 2013. The award will be presented at the draw for the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final in Cagliari, Sardinia on 1 November.

Sara Errani (ITA), Maria Kirilenko (RUS), Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) and Roberta Vinci (ITA) have all been shortlisted for the World Group semifinals award.

The players were shortlisted by the Heart Award judging panel, consisting of ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti and a mixture of former players and members of the international media. A public vote, running on 7-28 October, is being held on FedCup.com and FedCup.com/es to decide the winner, who will receive a cheque of $10,000 to be donated to their chosen charity.

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “The Fed Cup Heart Award is in its fifth year and continues to recognise the outstanding contributions made by players to their country and the competition. Fed Cup is celebrating its 50th birthday in the ITF centenary year, and I would like to acknowledge the efforts of all the players during this time who have helped Fed Cup grow to enjoy the success that it does today.”

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 2013.

Player information:

World Group

Sara Errani (ITA)

The Italian No. 1 kick-started her team’s victory in April’s semifinal with a 64 62 victory over Lucie Safarova in the first singles rubber. A mainstay of the Italian team, the 26-year-old from Bologna has become Corrado Barazzutti’s first choice in singles and doubles in the past two years and she didn’t disappoint with a comfortable victory over Safarova that set the tone for the weekend.

Roberta Vinci (ITA)

Vinci not only defeated the Czech No. 1 Petra Kvitova 64 61 on the opening day of the World Group semifinal but she also battled bad weather to lead her team to a memorable victory on a third day’s play in Palermo. Vinci missed a match point opportunity in the second set against Lucie Safarova but kept her cool to run out a 63 67(2) 63 winner and earn Italy a place in November’s Final.

Maria Kirilenko (RUS)

With her team losing 2-0 against Slovak Republic after the first day’s play, the pressure was on Maria Kirilenko to perform in the battle of the No. 1 players on Sunday. The 26-year-old Muscovite repaid the faith shown in her by captain Shamil Tarpischev by sparking the start of a memorable comeback with a 75 61 victory over Dominika Cibulkova.

Ekaterina Makarova (RUS)

Makarova came in as a substitute on Sunday and scored two three-set victories to complete a memorable comeback for the Russians. The 25-year-old defeated Daniela Hantuchova 63 46 64 to level the tie, before partnering Elena Vesnina to a 46 63 61 victory over the Slovak pairing of Cibulkova and Hantuchova in the deciding doubles to seal Russia’s place in the final.

Notes:

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)

Judging panel

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

2013 winners

tbc World Group semifinals

Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) World Group / World Group II first round

Paula Cristina Goncalves (BRA) Americas Zone Group I

Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) Asia/Oceania Zone Group I

Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) Europe/Africa Zone Group I. —- ITF

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