There are two weeks left before the seasonal debut of the women’s national team in the path leading to the finals of Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas which will take place from 8 to 13 November, in a venue yet to be made official. On 15 and 16 April the Italian selection will challenge the French national team on the fast green set courts of the Alghero Tennis Club, in one of those classic derbies of Italian sport. Concept reaffirmed with pride by the president of FIT 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 historic feats and legendary characters. It is even more so if it happens in the world of tennis, which in Italy is growing in popularity from month to month. – begins the president- If we are in Sardinia we owe it to the Region, to the Tourism Department, to the councilor Gianni Chessa, whom we thank on behalf of all Italian sport for what it has been doing in recent years.“.
Classic that hides pitfalls as specified by the president himself: “It is a very difficult challenge for Italy, because we are facing a very strong team. A team that, although it has 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, in general more important than those of our athletes. It will be one balanced challenge“.
The FIT president shows optimism by focusing on superstition, given that Italtennis for both men and women is unbeaten in Sardinia. “Staying in the women’s sector, we beat Russia in Cagliari in the old Fed Cup, sealing that golden period. As a Sardinian, I am proud that my region invests in sport, which is the healthiest thing for the 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 today we remember Italy-Russia of the Fed Cup or Italy-Sweden of Davis“.
Can’t leave indifferent the choice of hard and fast surface, given that the Italian selection has rarely been seen selecting a surface other than earth. The captain Garbin explains the reasons: “This decision is closely linked to a technical-tactical aspect. I consider it the more suitable surface on which to face a team like France. The synergy that we have found between courts and balls responds perfectly to our needs, and to the requirements we had asked for. But I don’t want to go into too much of the purely technical details of the decision, so as not to give further 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 from entering the top 100 and fresh from the quarters in Miami, not without regrets.
Julien Benneteau will bring four girls to Sardinia Alizè Cornet, Clara Burel, Kristina Mladenovic and Oceane 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 start on Friday at 2 pm with the first two singles. The tie will continue on Saturday starting at 12 with the other two singles and the double challenge will close the program. For the winning selection of this challenge up for grabs a place in the Finals 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, with the Italian selection having a negative balance of 3 wins and 8 defeats. 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 on the way to the second of the four titles. On that occasion Schiavone, Pennetta, Vinci and Errani defeated France 5-0 in Orleans.
The five matches are played at the best of two sets out of three: on Friday 15 April the first two singles from 2 pm, on Saturday 16 April the other two singles from 12 and close the double. Everything will be staged on the central court of the Alghero Tennis Club, whose capacity is 2,533 seats, without limitations to 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 has won all the challenges played in Sardinia, 9 at the men’s level and 2 at the women’s level. The only time it was played in Alghero was fifteen years ago. In July 2007 the Italian national team ruled Luxembourg with an easy 4-1 in the relegation playoff of Group I of the Euro / Africa zone.