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Canberra Tennis Centre to host Australia's Fed Cup tie against Ukraine on February 10

5 December 2017 3:01 AM
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Canberra will host Australia's best female players in a Fed Cup tie against the Ukraine in February after Tennis ACT secured its first major event at its $27 million, 32-court facility.

Canberra tennis officials will build a grass centre court and practice facilities to accommodate Australian skipper Alicia Molik's request for a grass surface.

The 32 courts at Lyneham include plexipave and clay, but there is no permanent grass courts.

The Fed Cup tie will be the Canberra Tennis Centre's first major test since opening two years ago and shows Tennis Australia view the capital as an important growth area.

Tennis ACT has been bidding for the rights to host Fed Cup and Davis Cup for the past two years to capitalise on Nick Kyrgios' rise to international fame.

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Australia's Fed Cup world group first round clash against the Ukraine on February 10-11 is a massive step for the capital after rejoining the national tournament schedule.

John Newcombe Medal winner Ash Barty, Dasha Gavrilova and Casey Dellacqua are expected to headline the Australian team to play in Canberra.

The Fed Cup tie will be held just two weeks after the end of the Australian Open and is a massive coup for Tennis ACT.

"We have a fantastic tennis community in Canberra and it is a real coup to secure the Fed Cup tie," Tennis ACT boss Kim Kachel said.

"I've no doubt the public will come out in droves to support our elite Australian athletes at our world class facility.

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"Ashleigh Barty is fresh off winning the Newcombe Medal and the current Australian team is one of the strongest we've seen in a long time. They are all brilliant role models for aspiring kids participating in schools and clubs across Canberra."

Australian No. 1 Barty hit the top 20 and is ranked No.17 while Daria Gavrilova is ranked at 25, Sam Stosur No.41 and Dellacqua is No.10 in doubles.

Molik said, "It's a fantastic advantage to play a Fed Cup tie on home soil and we hope to see a very loud and patriotic crowd at the Canberra Tennis Centre in February.

"We've chosen grass as we believe that will give us the very best chance to win. Ash, Dasha, Sam and Casey are all tremendous players and are keen to do everything they can to get us over the line and into the elite top eight in Fed Cup.

"This is an important tie for both teams to potentially return to the elite world group and we expect a fierce battle. We played the Ukraine away in February this year and we know just how good they are.

"Elina Svitolina is ranked No. 6 in the world so it will be tough, but we're excited for the challenge and looking forward to a great tie."

Australia has played the Ukraine four times, most recently early this year, when the team travelled to snowbound Kharkiv in February.

Tickets to the Canberra Fed Cup tie will be on sale to the public next week.

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Source: theage.com.au

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