Navratilova called up for Fed Cup tie with Austria

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The Independent Online

Venus Williams and Martina Navratilova will play for the United States against Austria in their second round Fed Cup tie in July, Austrian officials said yesterday.

Venus Williams and Martina Navratilova will play for the United States against Austria in their second round Fed Cup tie in July, Austrian officials said yesterday.

"The International Tennis Federation has signalled that Williams and Navratilova will definitely come to Innsbruck," said Martin Reiter, the manager of the Austrian Tennis Association. "Venus has already played in the 4-1 first round win of the US team in Slovenia, declaring the Fed Cup was of particular importance to her. But that Martina will also start in Innsbruck comes to us as a surprise."

Navratilova, 47, played on Austrian soil in May, winning the doubles at the Vienna Grand Prix.

"Navratilova and her partner Lisa Raymond are the best doubles pair in the whole of the United States, if not the best in the world," Reiter said. "The French Open, where both Williams sisters started but failed to triumph again, showed that the pair is beatable. But Navratilova's start does not make things any easier for us."

Navratilova is currently sixth in the WTA doubles rankings, while Raymond is ninth.

Against the odds, Reiter is hopeful. "We have accomplished our first mission impossible, when we beat the Americans 3-2 in Charlotte two years ago," he said. "So why should we not do it again?"

The Austrians facing the Americans in Innsbruck on 10-11 July are Barbara Schwartz, Barbara Schett and Patricia Wartusch. The American team has yet to nominate its second singles player, alongside Williams.

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