Captain Mary Joe Fernandez, speaking today at a USTA press conference call, said that--as of now--all the top U.S. players have made themselves available for the upcoming Fed Cup tie against defending champion Italy. The World Group competition will be held February 8 and 9 in Cleveland, Fernandez's residence, for the first time in Fed Cup history.
Commenting on Sloane Stephens, Fernandez said: "I think Sloane still gets a little bit confused about how she should play, constructing her points. I think she relies on her speed and doesn't play as aggressively as she could....I think now she's more aware of, when she wins, she she wins. I think that's something we'll see more of in 2014, more consistency."
Fernandez added that Stephens was "at the top" of the list of potential Fed Cup doubles team members, but also stressed that chemistry is an important factor in putting together a doubles team. She mentioned both Jamie Hampton and Taylor Townsend as having very good doubles skills.
The USA captain said that when she began her duties, the USA had only three players in the top 100, but now there are eleven.