Six of the 40 players who will represent the United States at the 31st ITF Seniors World Team Championships in New Zealand are from the Southern Section. They will join the other top American tennis players (men and women) in age divisions 35-55 to compete February 21-26 in Christchurch, Ashburton and Timaru, New Zealand.
The ITF Seniors/Super-Seniors World Team Championships is the most coveted team event on the ITF Seniors circuit. Since its inception in 1981, the number of competitors attracted to this event has increased year by year. In 1993, the ITF took the decision to divide the Seniors World Championships into two groups — Seniors (35-55) and Super-Seniors (60-80 for men and 60-75 for women).
All 10 Cups will be played on hard courts this year. The men’s Italia (35), Dubler (45) and Fred Perry (50) and women’s Margaret Court (45) Cups will be played in Christchurch. The men’s Austria (55) and women’s Maria Bueno (50) and Maureen Connolly (55) Cups will be played in Ashburton, an hour south of Christchurch. The men’s Tony Trabert (40s) and women’s Suzanne Lenglen (35) and Young (40) Cups will be played in the port city of Timaru, about two hours south of Christchurch.
The Southern players representing the USA in New Zealand are Fred Robinson, Charlotte, NC; Tom Smith, Alpharetta, GA; Carolina Blouin, Raleigh, NC; Fran Chandler, Jackson, TN; Mariana Hollman, Winston-Salem, NC and Diane Fishburne, Charleston, SC.
Robinson and Smith have been named to the Austria Cup team. Their teammates are Sal Castillo, San Antonio, TX and Ross Persons, Houston, TX. Both were members of the 2010 Austria Cup team which finished fourth in Mexico City. Robinson had a stellar year in singles, winning both the Clay and Hard. The win at the Hard over Andrew Rae of Australia was his best win of the year. He was a finalist too at the Indoors and ended the year ranked #1 in singles. In doubles he won the Clay and was a finalist, with Smith at the World Championships in Mexico. Smith had a solid year in singles and won the Hard and Grass doubles titles, ending the year ranked #1 in 55 doubles. Smith is the playing captain.
Blouin, a native of Brazil, will be playing on a Cup team for the first time, the Lenglen Cup. She will be joined by Patricia Zerdan, Dallas, TX; Trish Riddell, Lakeland, FL; and Mary Beth Williams, Harrisburg, PA. Blouin placed third at the Grass and Clay, losing to Zerdan (who swept the four 35s nationals in 2010) in both tournaments. She ended the year ranked #4 in the USA. The USA Lenglen Cup team finished fourth in Mexico City in 2010.
Chandler and Hollman will play on the Margaret Court Cup team and Chandler will be the playing captain. Chandler is the top ranked player in the world for 2010, having won the ITF World Championships in 45 singles, and the National Clay and the Hard in the USA. She was a doubles finalist too at the World Championships. Hollman won the 35 doubles at the World Championships, and the National 45 Hard and Grass doubles titles. The USA Court Cup team is the defending champion, having won in Mexico City in 2010.
Diane Fishburne is the top player on the Bueno Cup team for the fifth straight year. She ended 2010 as the #1 player in the world in 50 singles. Fishburne overcame the tough, high altitude conditions in San Luis Potosi, Mexico to win the world championships, beating Patricia Medrado of Brazil impressively, in the final. She also won the National Clay in the USA. The USA won the Bueno Cup in 2010 in Mexico City.
A list of all 40 players selected to the senior teams can be found here: http://www.usta.com/2011_senior_international_senior_teams/
Photos of these players can be found here: http://picasaweb.google.com/CarolynANichols/SeniorTeamsNZ#