Daniela Hantuchova of Slovak Republic and Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson were presented with their 2012 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Awards following the draw ceremonies at their Fed Cup play-off ties in Marbella and Boras on Friday.
The first four Heart Award recipients of 2012 were decided by a public vote on FedCup.com and FedCup.com/es that saw over 10,000 fans make their selection. Catalina Castano of Colombia and Li Na of China were the other two winners and will be presented with their awards at a later date. All four players will receive a silver Baccarat bracelet and a cheque to be donated to a chosen charity.
Hantuchova was recognised in the World Group and World Group II first round category, with two singles wins in Slovak Republic’s World Group II first round win over France. She has donated her cheque for $6000 to the children's ward of her hometown hospital in Poprad.
Hantuchova said: “It’s something very special to me. Awards like this mean more than any trophy I have because it’s for the fans and that’s what you play tennis for. Because the match was played in Slovakia, the cheque is going to my home city where I was born in Poprad to the hospital for the kids department.”
Arvidsson won the Heart Award for Europe/Africa Zone Group I after remaining unbeaten in singles and doubles to help Sweden qualify for the World Group II play-offs. She has donated a her cheque for $1000 to the cancer charity Barncancer Fonden.
She said: “It means a lot. One of my first awards and a great honour. I should share it with my team because they made me play well and I had so much fun playing Fed Cup. I really like it.
“The cheque is for research for kids with cancer. After Fed Cup, I had a hitting partner in Memphis and he had to go home because his godson was dying of cancer. He was only four years old and he passed away. I hope this can do some good for them.”
Juan Briz, Head of Brand and Communication of BNP Paribas in Spain, who presnted the cheque to Hantuchova, said: "The level of passion and excitement for Fed Cup by BNP Paribas has grown considerably during recent years, and this is embodied in the commitment of players such as Daniela Hantuchova. By supporting this Heart Award initiative, which combines social engagement with the promotion of women’s tennis, we develop both our active partnership policy with tennis and our social responsibility policies."
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “There were some outstanding performances during the Fed Cup ties in February so I’d like to congratulate Daniela, Sofia, Catalina and Li Na for coming out on top of the public vote. The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Award continues to reward players for the commitment they make to their team and the competition as a whole. I’m sure the four winners will now take great pride in making their donations to charity.”
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) - 20/04/2012
Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) - 20/04/2012