By Ashley Marshall, USTA.com
America's top women will return to the sun-kissed Hawaiin islands in February when the U.S. hosts Germany in the first round of the Fed Cup at the Royal Lahaina Resort in Maui.
The opening tie of the 2017 Fed Cup campaign will be held Feb. 11-12 as Team USA starts its bid for a record 18th title. The U.S. last won the event in 2000 in a 5-0 sweep of Spain, though it has contested the final three times since.
Based on current WTA rankings, world No. 2 Serena Williams and seventh-ranked Madison Keys could suit up for the U.S. in the singles matches. Venus Williams, ranked No. 15, and world No. 36 Sloane Stephens (pictured above) could also factor in the team. In doubles, CoCo Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands may possibly pair up on the second day of play.
The U.S. Fed Cup team captain will select the four players to represent the U.S. no later than 10 days prior to the event. Mary Joe Fernandez recently stepped down after eight years at the helm; the USTA is expcted to announce a new captain in November.
Germany is likely to be led by 2016 US Open champion and world No. 1 Angelique Kerber.
2017 will be the second consecutive year that Hawaii will host Fed Cup and the first time that a state has hosted consecutive Fed Cup ties. Hawaii became the 16th state to host this competition earlier this year when Kailua-Kona, located roughly 80 miles south of Maui, held the World Group II First-Round tie against Poland. In that tie, the U.S. team of Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens, CoCo Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands swept Poland, 4-0.
“We are proud to bring Fed Cup back to Hawaii after an extremely successful tie earlier this year here that brought sell-out crowds and had such a positive impact on the community,” said USTA Chairman, CEO and President Katrina Adams. “Maui will be the perfect fit for us. Hawaii has such welcoming and vibrant tennis fans and the Royal Lahaina Resort is a world-class venue that will be an ideal host for the fans, players, and everyone involved.”
The best-of-five match series against Germany begins on Saturday, Feb. 11, with two singles matches. That is followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday, Feb. 12. Matches will be played on an outdoor hard court.
The winner of this matchup will advance to face either the Czech Republic or Spain in the World Group Semifinals, held April 22-23, for a chance to compete for the 2017 Fed Cup title. The losing nation will compete in the World Group Playoffs in April to remain in the World Group for 2018.
The U.S. will be competing in the World Group for the first time since 2014.
The United States holds an 8-5 head-to-head record over Germany in Fed Cup. The U.S. last faced Germany in the 2011 World Group Playoffs in Stuttgart, Germany, where Germans swept the Americans, 5-0. The U.S. last defeated Germany in the 2008 World Group First Round in La Jolla, Calif., 4-1.
Tickets will go on sale to the public on Friday, Nov. 18.Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage of the World Group First Round.