There are two weeks left before the Women’s National Team season debut on the road to the final of Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas which will take place from November 8 to 13, in a location yet to be formalized. On April 15 and 16, the Italian selection will challenge the French team on the fast green set courts of the Alghero Tennis Club, in one of those classic derbies of Italian sport. Concept proudly reaffirmed by FIT President Angelo binaghi during the presentation press conference organized in Cagliari at the headquarters of the Department of Tourism, Crafts and Commerce of the Sardinia Region.
“Italy-France is a classic of world sport, which evokes historical exploits and legendary figures. This is even truer if this happens in the world of tennis, which in Italy is gaining popularity month by month. – begins the president – If we are in Sardinia, we owe it to the Region, to the Department of Tourism, to Councilor Gianni Chessa, whom we thank on behalf of all Italian sport for what he has done in recent years.“.
A classic that hides pitfalls, as the president himself points out: “It’s a very difficult challenge for Italy, because we are facing a very strong team. A team which, although having players with current rankings lower than ours, can count on two girls with great potential. A former number 4 like Garcia and a former number 11 like Cornet, capable of absolute level performances, generally greater than those of our athletes. It will be a balanced challenge“.
The FIT president is optimistic, betting on superstition, given that both men’s and women’s Italtennis are unbeaten in Sardinia. “Also in the women’s sector, we beat Russia in Cagliari in the old Fed Cup, sealing this golden period. As a Sardinian, I am proud that my region invests in sport, which is the healthiest thing for new generations, and which helps to promote the beauty of this beautiful land in which we live.. We will remember this Italy-France for decades, as we remember today the Italy-Russia of the Fed Cup or the Italy-Sweden of Davis“.
Cannot leave indifferent the choice of hard and fast surface, given that the Italian selection has rarely been seen selecting any surface other than dirt. The captain Garbin explain the reasons: “This decision is closely linked to a technical-tactical aspect. I consider it as the more suitable surface to face a team like France. The synergy that we found between the courts and the balls perfectly meets our needs, and the requirements that we had asked for. But I don’t want to go too much into the purely technical details of the decision, so as not to give additional clues to our next opponents.”.
The choice of surface was “positively received by our five representatives”, as Garbin herself pointed out. There will be to defend the Italian colors in Sardinia Camila Giorgi, Jasmine Paolini, Martina Trevisan, Elisabetta Cocciaretto and newcomer Lucia Bronzetti, fresh to enter the top 100 and fresh from Miami neighborhoods, not without regrets.
Julien Benneteau will bring four girls to Sardinia Alizé Cornet, Clara Burel, Kristina Mladenovic and Océane Dodin, the latter called a few days ago to replace his compatriot injured in a foot since February. Garcia therefore preferred to take a break to undergo the necessary treatment. The challenge will begin Friday at 2 p.m. with the first two singles. The tie will continue on Saturday from 12 noon with the other two singles and the double challenge will close the program. For the winning selection of this challenge to win a place in the final where Slovakia, Australia, Belgium and Switzerland are already qualified; while here are all the others called for the challenges scheduled in two weeks.
It will be there challenge number 12 between Italy and France, the Italian selection posting a negative balance of 3 wins and 8 losses. The last confrontation between the two national teams dates back to 2016, when the French won 4-1 in Marseille. The last Italian success dates back to 2009, when he was on his way to the second of four titles. On this occasion, Schiavone, Pennetta, Vinci and Errani beat France 5-0 in Orleans.
The five matches are played in the best of two sets out of three: on Friday April 15 the first two singles from 2 p.m., on Saturday April 16 the other two singles from 12 and close the double. Everything will take place on the central court of the Alghero Tennis Club, with a capacity of 2,533 seats, with no limit on the presence of the public. Access will be possible with a basic green pass and the obligation to wear the FFP2 mask. As already mentioned, the Italian national team won all the challenges played in Sardinia, 9 at men’s level and 2 at women’s level. The only time it was played in Alghero was fifteen years ago. In July 2007, the Italian national team overcame Luxembourg with an easy 4–1 in the Eurozone/Africa Group I relegation qualifier.