Coming to this land of opportunity, I'm so grateful. Coming with a suitcase and a dream and here I am today. This country has offered me so much that you will see during this week that I am the proudest American that you will meet. It gives me goose bumps every time to be representing my country and be on a team.
Perhaps Huber's rhetoric wouldn't grate on me so much if it didn't have (for me) some other contexts. In Charleston, she said she once felt she didn't belong because she was from a third world country. That's true, technically, but I wish she hadn't said it. Now, in Birmingham, her comments come at the same time that one of her teammates, Melanie Oudin, had to say about team membership, "It really shows who really cares about their country and who wants to play for more than themselves."
It is entirely possible that these comments were made in isolation and that no reference was consciously made to players who are not on the team. But the results, PR-wise, are unfortunate. I should also add--for the sake of clarity--that while I certainly wish the USA team well, and will be in the stands in Birmingham, I am disturbed when national pride crosses over into chauvinism, as it seems to do more and more.
I have written, on several occasions, that I think the USA Fed Cup team needs to let go of its fixation on the Williams sisters, and move on. Mary Joe Fernandez has done a really good job with Oudin, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Huber and other team members. I also appreciate how exciting it must be for those team members to have played in the final last year, and to be in a semifinal in 2010. I just wish everyone would keep the conversation focused on tennis.