Agnieszka Radwanska, at the age of 25, is already Poland’s leader in ties played and rubbers won in Fed Cup competition amassing a total of 35 victories from her eight years in the competition.
Having played just one previous tie in World Group II – a loss to Belgium in 2010 – the Pole has spent many of these years slugging away in the zonal groups but this year she gets a second chance on the big stage as they travel to Sweden in the first round.
“It’s great to be back in the World Group and not playing the round robin, so very happy that we could go up…hopefully we can manage to beat Sweden”
With her exemplary personal record in the competition and high ranking the pressure has been placed firmly on her shoulders to carry her nation.
“Sometimes I feel like I was by myself there and we couldn’t really go up so I’m just very happy that with my sister we went up. Unfortunately now she is injured but now we have another girl playing very good tennis and she’s ranked 100 now. I think still we have a good chance to win…we will do everything in ours powers”
“I think there is always a lot of pressure on me but hopefully [Katarzyna] Piter will help me out a little bit, we will see”
Piter, currently ranked at world No. 119 and two years younger than Radwanska, is still trying to establish herself on the Tour but a quarterfinal in Luxembourg beating both Kirsten Flipkens and Yanina Wickmayer en route displayed some of the potential she possesses.
She can also boast of a Fed Cup victory against a potential opponent in this tie having defeated Johanna Larsson 64 16 64 back in a Europe/Africa Zone Group I match in 2009.
The two nations have met each other once since then, however, in the promotional play-off and Radwanska is well aware of the result:
“We played against Sweden in the round robin and we lost, and they are playing at home, so it’s always tricky. I’m excited to play, it’s always fun, especially playing for your country and that it is the World Group”
The success of the Polish Fed Cup team is part of a wider growth of the sport in the country with the Davis Cup team missing out on promotion to the World Group for the first time in their history when they lost to Australia last September.
“We can see a lot of Polish names in the draws so I think it is very good and tennis is really getting bigger in Poland, it’s going in a good way and now you can see that there are more people playing tennis, more kids so this is great”
The world No. 5 is aware that there is still room for improvement and this year represents the best opportunity in a number of years for the team to advance to their next target.
“This is our main goal to go [to World Group I], we have never been there before so this is the goal that we really want to do it. We have still a chance, so if we win against Sweden then just one more match…we are looking forward to it for sure.”