The USTA and U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced Wednesday that world No. 1 and 15-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will be joined by her sister and world No. 22 Venus Williams, world No. 16 Sloane Stephens, and world No. 27 Varvara Lepchenko in representing the U.S. against Sweden in the 2013 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Playoff at the Delray Beach Tennis Center in Delray Beach, Fla., on April 20-21, 2013.
The winner of the match will advance to the 2014 World Group and have a chance to compete for the Fed Cup title next year, while the losing team will be relegated to World Group II in 2014. Sweden announced Tuesday that their team will consist of world No. 54 Sofia Arvidsson, world No. 65 Johanna Larsson, world No. 425 Hilda Melander, and world No. 489 Sandra Roma. Roma was the women's champion
at the 2012 US Open Playoffs-Florida Section event.
"I am really excited about the team that we have for this World Group Playoff," said U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. "With all four women ranked in the Top 30 and Serena playing as the No. 1 player in the world, we have great talent and depth, which is a perfect combination."
The U.S. Fed Cup team is 3-0 in Florida, and it will be the third Fed Cup tie held at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center, making it the only venue to host a U.S. Fed Cup tie on three occasions. The tie will be within driving distance for Floridians the Williams sisters and Stephens.
"[Florida has] been a lucky state for us," said Jeff Ryan, USTA director of team events, speaking to the Palm Beach Post. "It's just important to make these players comfortable and happy in their environment and the Delray Beach Tennis Center is a wonderful tennis facility."
The World Group Playoff will mark the fifth match-up between the U.S. and Sweden in Fed Cup competition with the U.S. leading the series 3-1. The U.S. is 36-4 all-time in Fed Cup ties played at home.
Serena Williams is coming off the title at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, S.C., where she defeated Venus in the semifinals and former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic from a set down in the final. The 31-year-old went 4-0 in Fed Cup singles competition last year. She is 8-0 career in Fed Cup singles play and 3-0 in doubles, and helped the U.S. capture the 1999 Fed Cup title.
The 20-year-old Stephens is currently ranked a career-high No. 16 in the world after reaching the semifinals of the 2013 Australian Open, where she defeated Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. The Florida-raised Stephens lists her residence as Coral Springs, Fla., and is the daughter of the late New England Patriots running back John Stephens. She trains with the USTA Player Development Program at the USTA's Training Center-West in Carson, Calif.
Former world No. 1 and current No. 22-ranked Venus Williams reentered the Top 20 this year for the first time after revealing that she had been diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome following the 2011 US Open. The 32 year old is a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, and has not played singles in Fed Cup since 2007.
Lepchenko, 26, is currently ranked No. 27 in the world and made her Fed Cup debut in the 2013 World Group First Round in Rimini, Italy, where she posted singles victories over world No. 8 Sara Errani and world No. 16 Roberta Vinci.
The best-of-five match series begins on Saturday, April 20, with two singles matches, followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday, April 21. Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage beginning at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday and 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Tickets can be purchased as two-day packages or as individual sessions. Prices for the two-day packages are $70 and $120. Prices for individual sessions are $40 and $65. Additional ticket fees apply. Tickets can be purchased via www.ticketmaster.com
or by calling 888-334-USTA (8782).
Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the world's largest annual international women's team competition with 97 countries entering in 2013. The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000. For more information, including access to player and historical Fed Cup records, go to www.usta.com/fedcup