On Tuesday, Tennis Canada announced that Françoise Abanda (Montréal, QC) is suffering from a back injury that has forced her to withdraw from the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Americas Zone Group 1 event, which will be held in Metepec, Mexico from February 6 to 12. Captain Sylvain Bruneau has called up Katherine Sebov (Toronto, ON) as a substitute. She will join forces with Bianca Vanessa Andreescu (Mississauga, ON) and Charlotte Robillard-Millette (Blainville, QC) to represent Canada.
“It’s unfortunate that Françoise will miss the event, especially since she has always done well in Fed Cup,” said Bruneau. “Katherine is part of the next generation of young players and has recently had excellent results at the professional level. This will be her first Fed Cup appearance and I’m very happy to have her join our team.”
Sebov will indeed be making her Fed Cup début. The 18-year-old is currently ranked world no.545 and rose as high as no.22 in the junior rankings in 2015. Just a few weeks ago, she reached the semifinals of the Orlando Challenger, which awards $25 000 in prize money.
Canada will therefore be counting on its up-and-comers more than ever since the squad will be made up of players who are still eligible to play at the junior level. Along with Sebov (18 years old), Andreescu (16 years old) will also be playing in her first Fed Cup. Robillard-Millette (18 years old) is the veteran: she joined the team at two events in the past two years.
In 2016, Canada lost in the first round of World Group II against Belarus and then fell to Slovakia in a World Group II playoff. The loss downgraded the team to Americas Zone Group I.
The participating countries will be divided into two groups of four and five teams. The winning countries in each group will go head-to-head for a World Group II berth at a qualifying event in April 2017. The two countries at the bottom will play in Americas Zone Group II in 2018. Canada is in group A and will be up against Bolivia, Paraguay and Venezuela.