New faces in New Zealand Fed Cup team

Last updated 17:43 30/12/2012

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The New Zealand Fed Cup tennis team has been confirmed with some new faces in the side which will compete in Asia/Oceania Group II in Kazakhstan in early February.

World No 67 Marina Erakovic returns to the side and is joined by new players, top 100 ranked junior Emily Fanning as well as Abigail Guthrie and Emma Hayman.

New Zealand will be aiming to gain the one promotion spot from a round-robin of two pools of six teams in Group II and return to Asia/Oceania Group I for 2014.

"It's great to have Marina in the team. She brings such a wealth of experience to the side and obviously she's ranked in the top 100 players in the world so she is a standout player," said New Zealand Fed Cup captain Pavlina Nola, who is pleased Fanning is over some niggling injuries and rates her players as a good team.

"Abi and Emma are a good doubles combination and a great team players. I think it's a good solid team all round."

Fanning, 17 from Timaru has been ranked as high 38 in the world in juniors, but has also has experience on the ITF professional circuit, winning a doubles title in Mexico earlier this year. 

Auckland's Guthrie, 22 is currently attending the University of Mississippi while Hayman, who is from Wanganui, has finished her scholarship in the United States and has played some professional events, winning a doubles title in Germany.

As a combination Guthrie and Hayman won the doubles at the recent New Zealand Tennis Championship

A team for the ATL (Australian Tennis League) has also been confirmed.

This is a competition being held during the Australian Open at Melbourne Park between the best state sides in Australia and New Zealand.

The team is Guthrie, Hayman, Paige Hourigan, the 15-year-old finalist at the NZ Tennis Championships, 16-year-old Claudia Williams from Auckland and Fanning (who will also be playing in the Australian Open juniors).

The team have been practising together and competing in the ASB Classic qualifying as well as main draw doubles.

In 2012, 90 nations entered Fed Cup, making it the world's largest annual international team competition in women's sport.

Fed Cup is structured with an eight-nation World Group and eight-nation World Group II, contested over three weekends during the year.

The remaining countries are then divided into three regional zones, depending on their location, and play a week-long competition which will feature New Zealand in the Asia/Oceania zone.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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