When Italy and Russia meet in the 2013 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final it will be the fifth time the two nations have met in the last eight years but Flavia Pennetta doesn’t believe this familiarity will give either team an advantage.
“We have played against them so many times and we know almost every player and they know us really well…I think it’s going to be really tough for both teams but it’s 50-50 - you never know what will happen,” explained Pennetta, who has been a member of three Fed Cup winning teams.
Two of those title-winning ties came alongside Francesca Schiavone, Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci and it is anticipated that Italian captain Corrado Barazzutti will call upon the same faithful quartet for November’s Final.
“The captain is going to bring the best team he can bring,” continued the Italian. “[Karin] Knapp and [Camilla] Giorgi play really good so maybe he will decide to switch with some of us but I think he loves this team and the way it is.”
It will be Barazzutti’s 30th tie as Fed Cup captain - a role he has undertaken for the past 12 years.
“In the beginning it was really tough for him because he was always coaching a guy so it was not easy for him to come with four women. But now he understands how to talk with us and what he has to say to us,” said Pennetta. “He’s a really good captain; I would love to give him the chance to have another victory.”
While Italy has fielded the same foursome for 11 of the past 13 ties, Russia has such strength in depth that you can never be sure who captain Shamil Tarpischev will choose.
“We don’t know who will play for them,” continued the 31-year-old. “They have so many choices they can make three teams not one! We are not going to know anything until the last moment but it’s going to be difficult whoever they decide to bring to the team.”
One advantage Italy holds over its opponents however is where the Final will take place – on home soil at the Tennis Club Cagliari in Sardinia.
“It’s a really nice place - Cagliari is a lovely city so I think a lot of people can come and support us. We are really happy to play in Italy, we are really happy to play another final and we are looking for another win - we hope!”