In the first of four features with Fed Cup players, we caught up with Dutch star Kiki Bertens to talk about what the competition means to her.
The 22-year-old from Wateringen improved her incredible singles record in Fed Cup to 8-0 with wins over Kurumi Nara and Misaki Doi in the last round of Fed Cup.
Here's what she had to say:
You’ve never lost a Fed Cup singles match (8-0 record in singles and 14-1 overall). How proud are you of that record?
It is a really good record, I couldn't do better, and I hope I can keep this for the next few matches.
Does playing for your country bring out the best in you?
For me it's always nice to have a whole team around me. We always have a lot of fun together in the week of the Fed Cup and I think that's very important. Especially the last time when we played at home, it was really nice to have such a great crowd.
You helped Netherlands reach World Group II for the first time since 1999 in April. How important an achievement was that?
I think it was a really important match against Japan. For the first time in 15 years we are back in the World Group. I think this is good for everyone, for Dutch tennis overall, for the team and also for the players.
You were ranked No. 131 in April’s World Group II play-offs, but defeated world No. 100 Misaki Doi and No. 45 Kurumi Nara back-to-back. Do you think ranking counts for much in Fed Cup?
I think I showed now that ranking does not always really count. For myself it confirmed that I can be on that level again. Last year my ranking was 41 but after an ankle surgery I dropped a lot. So this week was really good for my confidence.
Netherlands hasn’t been in the highest tier of Fed Cup, the World Group, since 1998. Do you think this team is capable of getting there next year?
I hope so, it would be something great. We will go for every match to win it.
What is your favourite thing about Fed Cup weeks? What makes them different from playing on the Tour?
My favourite thing about a Fed Cup week is that we have a lot of fun together. It's nice to be so close with the other players and the staff of the team. Then you are with a whole group and on the Tour its just me and my coach.
Do you have much of a rivalry with the Dutch Davis Cup team? Do you try to out-perform each other?
(laughing) No, but they play on a higher level for so many years, and it was always nice to see their home ties. A lot of people come to support them. So for us it was something really great that we played our tie against Japan in the Netherlands. Now we know how it is to play for such a great crowd.
Will you be supporting the Davis Cup team in their World Group play-off against Croatia in September?
If I'm home I'm going to watch for sure!