|TENNIS CHANNEL ADDS MARTINA NAVRATILOVA TO FED CUP BOOTH FOR U.S.-CZECH REPUBLIC SEMIFINAL THIS WEEKEND|
|LOS ANGELES, April 19, 2017 -Tennis Channel will add Hall of Famer and on-air analyst Martina Navratilova (@martina) to its booth during coverage of this weekend’s Fed Cup semifinal between the United States and the Czech Republic. It is the first time in her 11-year Tennis Channel career that Navratilova will offer commentary during coverage of the event, the most prestigious international team tournament in women’s tennis. The two-day competition gets underway Saturday, April 22, at 12 p.m. ET, in Tampa Bay, Fla.
Considered one of the greatest tennis players – if not overall athletes – of all time, Navratilova won a Fed Cup championship for her native Czechoslovakia in 1975 before defecting to the United States later that year. She won another three Fed Cups as a U.S. team member, including the championship final against Czechoslovakia in 1986 in her hometown of Prague, marking her first return to the country in 11 years. In three decades of Fed Cup matches from 1975-2004, Navratilova amassed an astounding 40-1 record in singles and doubles play, dropping only her last doubles match in 2004, a few months shy of her 49th birthday. She lost only six sets in her entire Fed Cup career.
Navratilova will be paired with announcer Brett Haber (@BrettHaber) during Tennis Channel’s coverage of the U.S.-Czech Republic matchup at Florida’s Saddlebrook Resort this weekend.
The United States and three-time defending champion Czech Republic are the most successful nations in Fed Cup history, with the United States leading all countries with 17 titles. The Czech Republic is second on the all-time list of tournament champions, clinching the trophy on 10 occasions (five as Czechoslovakia). Australian Open doubles champion and World No. 1 doubles player Bethanie Mattek-Sands will join singles semifinalist Coco Vandeweghe, Lauren Davis and Shelby Rogers as they attempt to put the United States in the Fed Cup final for the first time since 2010, and win the first American championship since 2000.
The battle between the United States and the Czech Republic will consist of two singles matches Saturday, and two singles matches and a doubles match Sunday. The winner of the semifinal matchup will advance to the championship round in November to face either Belarus or Switzerland
In addition to covering the United States-Czech Republic competition this weekend,Tennis Channel’s digital subscription service, Tennis Channel Plus, will show the other Fed Cup semifinal between Belarus and Switzerland in Minsk, Belarus, live beginning Saturday, April 22. The matches will be available on-demand on the platform (www.tennischanneleverywhere.com), which is available to everyone in the United States regardless of whether they subscribe to Tennis Channel. Other stars set to play Fed Cup this weekend include Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky and Martina Hingis.
Tennis Channel’s live Fed Cup coverageis as follows (all time ET):
Saturday, April 22:
12 p.m. -Singles USA v. Czech Republic
1 p.m. -Singles Belarus v. Switzerland (Tennis Channel Plus)
Sunday, April 23:
11 a.m. -Singles, Doubles USA v. Czech Republic
12 p.m. -Singles, Doubles Belarus v. Switzerland (Tennis Channel Plus)
The United States holds a 9-2 advantage over the Czech Republic. The most recent meeting between the two was in 2009, when the United States beat the Czech Republic 3-2 in Brno, Czech Republic. However, the Czech Republic has won five titles in the last six years (2011-12, 2014-16). The Americans have reached the semifinals for the first time in seven years after defeating Germany 5-0 earlier this year.
As a player, U.S. Fed Cup captain Kathy Rinaldi reached the semifinals at Wimbledon in 1985 and achieved a career-high ranking of World No. 7 in 1986. Mattek-Sands, World No. 1 doubles player and Australian Open doubles champion, leads the Americans into this weekend after winning the Volvo Car Open women’s doubles title with the Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova in Charleston this month. At this year’s Australian Open, Vandeweghe received her biggest career singles win by defeating reigning champion and then-World No. 1 Angelique Kerber in the fourth round and 2016 French Open champion Garbine Muguruza en route to the semifinals. Davis won her first WTA singles title in January at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. Rogers enters this weekend after an impressive quarterfinal run at the Volvo Car Open.
The Czech Republic has dominated Fed Cup competition in recent years, but will be without World No. 3 Karolina Pliskova this weekend, who helped the country beat Spain in the first round. The team is captained by Petr Palaand and features Katerina Siniakova, Kristyna Pliskova, Denisa Allertova and Marketa Vondrousova.