The newly crowned Fed Cup champion U.S. will begin the defense of its title in Asheville, N.C., when it hosts the Netherlands in February 10-11 in the 2018 World Group first-round tie, which will be played on a temporary indoor hard court at U.S. Cellular Center.
The U.S. comes to Asheville for the first time after winning its record 18th Fed Cup title Nov. 12 against Belarus in Minsk. This was Team USA's first Fed Cup title since 2000.
The U.S. Fed Cup team has played in North Carolina on three prior occasions, holding a 2-1 record in the state. The U.S. last competed in the Tar Heel state in 2002, in Charlotte at the Olde Providence Racquet Club. The team also played in Raleigh in 1999 at the Raleigh Racquet Club as well as in Wilmington in 1995 at Trask Coliseum.
The U.S. was drawn to play away in the Netherlands for the 2018 World Group first round when the draw took place in September, but the USTA choose to exercise its right under new Fed Cup regulations to host the first-round tie. Under regulations that came into effect from the International Tennis Federation in August, the finalist nations in the 2017 Fed Cup Final (the U.S. and Belarus) were given the option of hosting their 2018 first-round ties.
The USTA has partnered with ExploreAsheville.com to bring this event to Asheville.
“I am thrilled that Asheville will play host to some of the most talented women’s tennis stars in the world,” said Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer. “This will be an exciting event for all who attend.”
Added Chris Corl, general manager of the U.S. Cellular Center: “The U.S. Cellular Center team is excited to play host to such a prestigious event on an international stage while highlighting Asheville as a premier tennis community.
The U.S. holds a 6-2 head-to-head record over the Netherlands in Fed Cup play. The U.S. last faced the Netherlands in the 1998 World Group First Round in Kiawah Island, S.C., sweeping the tie, 5-0. The Americans’ only losses to the Dutch came in 1968 and 1997.
U.S. Fed Cup Captain Kathy Rinaldi will select the four players to represent Team USA no later than 10 days prior to the event.
The best-of-five match series against the Netherlands begins Saturday, Feb. 10, with two singles matches. That is followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday, Feb. 11. The winner of this matchup will advance to the Fed Cup semifinals, April 21-22.
The site selection is subject to final approval by the ITF. Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage of the World Group first round.
Two-day ticket packages for both Saturday and Sunday play will be sold at reduced prices ranging from $50 to $250 ($25 to $125 per day), representing the greatest initial ticket value. Single-day tickets for Saturday or Sunday play will be sold with prices ranging from $30 to $135 per day. Tickets may be purchased by visiting www.usta.com/fedcup or by calling 888-334-USTA (8782).