Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is this year celebrating a landmark birthday. Fifty years ago the first women's competition took place involving sixteen nations, with that figure growing rapidly to nearly 100 nations in 2013.Anastasia Myskina, who won Fed Cup with Russia in 2004 and 2005, continues our series of blogs on FedCup.com to celebrate the birth of a competition that has played a crucial role in women’s liberation and the emergence of women in sport over the past half century.
The year was 2004. It was July. I know that because I have my birthday in July. We were getting ready to travel to Argentina for a Fed Cup tie. In Moscow, the weather was very hot, over 30 degrees.
I remember talking to all of the girls (Vera Zvonareva, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Likhovtseva, Larisa Savchenko) and our doctors, massage therapists, even our captain Shamil Tarpischev about what summer clothes we would take. Girls being girls we were thinking about what swimwear we would take as there is always time for a pool!
We flew with a connecting flight in Paris - it was a long flight of about 18 hours. We were all so happy to be going to Argentina and were excited that it was summer to boot. Finally we landed in Argentina and our pilot informed us that it was 0 degrees outside. Our team was in shock.
When we arrived at our hotel, we immediately ran for warm jackets. None of us could have imagined that somewhere may be colder than Moscow. We played and practiced in gloves, pants and blouses. In the morning we got up when it was still dark, because in July in Argentina it's winter. Somehow nobody had thought about that.
In spite of all that we won, and I will never forget the feeling. The stands were full of fans (not ours of course), but the team was strong, both mentally and physically. After we finished playing tennis came the Argentine meat, which is very tasty and the best. This week was my birthday, so we celebrated it in a really cool place with our team - that was most fun.
In general, for me Fed Cup is one of my favorite tournaments, where you can see the qualities of a team player, which is a rarity for tennis.