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July 18, 2003

Alexandra Stevenson


MICHELLE MARTINEZ: Welcome, everyone, to the Fed Cup tie between Italy and the USA. Please welcome our host here at the Capitol today, a great friend of professional tennis, an avid supporter of the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation, and a distinguished member of the United States Congress for the past 30 years, the Honorable John Breaux, Senator from Louisiana (applause).

SENATOR JOHN BREAUX: Thank you very much, and good afternoon to everyone. We still have people coming in. If you all would just come on in and we'll take our seats... I want to thank everyone this afternoon for being with us. Welcome to our nation's capital, and welcome in particular to the United States Capitol. We're on the west front of the United States Capitol for the draw ceremony. This is the same site that we had recently when we had the Davis Cup here in WWashington, D.C. back in 1997. We in the Washington area are particularly proud to be the host for this year's Fed Cup. This is the first time that the Fed Cup has had the honor of being in our nation's capital, and we are very pleased and very proud and very, very honored to have them here as well. We'd like to just say a quick thank you to three people, companies, who have done a great deal in making this event possible: The Geico Corporation, the Pfizer Corporation, and Provident Bank. Without their participation, it would have been very difficult to make this a great success (applause). I've said that there's no finer example of international cooperation between nations than when nations get together on the friendly battleground of competition. Truly, that is what the Fed Cup represents. It represents bringing some of the finest representatives, young ladies with great talent and great spirit, on to the competition field representing their country. That's what the Fed Cup represents, and that's why it's such a wonderful institution. It is my pleasure to welcome a number of the dignitaries who are going to be participating in the draw this afternoon. It is my pleasure to first welcome the International Tennis Federation referee, Jane Harvey of Great Britain (applause). Please join me in welcoming now the President of the International Tennis Federation, representative Francesco Ricci Bitti (applause). Representing the Italian Tennis Federation, please welcome Ms. Laura Garrone (applause). I'm pleased to present to you the President and the Chairman of the Board of the United States Tennis Association, President Alan Schwartz (applause). Now, the most important part of the presentations are the team members of the Fed Cup representing their countries. First, the team representing the country of Italy. Please join me in welcoming Ms. Tathiana Garbin (applause). Please give a warm welcome to Ms. Rita Grande (applause). Please join me in welcoming Ms. Francesca Schiavone (applause). Finally, but certainly not least, please join me in welcoming Ms. Antonella Serra Zanetti (applause). Finally, every team has to have a captain. The Italian captain coaching the team will be Captain Corrado Barazzutti (applause). Now, please join me as we present the team representing the United States of America. Please give a very warm welcome to Ms. Alexandra Stevenson (applause). Next, please join me in welcoming team member Ms. Lisa Raymond (applause). Next, please welcome Ms. Meghann Shaughnessy (applause). Finally, representing the United States, my friend and fellow Louisianian, please welcome Ms. Chanda Rubin (applause). Our American team will be captained, as it has been in the past, by a tennis legend. Please welcome Captain Billie Jean King (applause). Ladies and gentlemen, USTA President Alan Schwartz. Alan?

PRESIDENT ALAN SCHWARTZ: Well, I don't know if coaches who haven't been officially registered are entitled to do that, but I understand that Senator Breaux was playing with and coaching you today, Alexandra. Is that right, this morning?

ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yes, he gave me some tips (smiling). He beat me, too (laughter).

PRESIDENT ALAN SCHWARTZ: You did as instructed (laughter). Welcome to the Quarterfinal Draw Ceremony. As is customary, in order to ensure the integrity of the umpiring, the ITF appoints two neutral umpires, both of whom are from countries other than those competing. The first one from France is Sandra De Jenken. I want to thank her for her service. And, from Mexico, Jaime Chavez (applause). I saved a little bit of historical data for today and thought you'd be interested to know that the very, very first match in Fed Cup that the U.S. ever played was against Italy 40 years ago. And, two of the participants, Billie Jean and Carol Graebner, are with us today, so it's a nice way to celebrate history (applause). The mantra of the USTA is to promote and develop the growth of tennis, and our vision is to have "30 By 2010," which is 30 million players by the year 2010. We have 23 and a half million players now, and it's my hope that the Fed Cup, as it becomes better and better known, will serve as an inspiration to many youngsters to take up tennis, to stick with tennis, and to see what a wonderful sport it can be. So we see the Fed Cup as an instrument of helping us reach our vision of "30 By 2010." A quick thank you to the WTEF again, as we did last night; they were terrific. The Mid Atlantic section of the USTA, thank you. And, once again, thank you Geico, thank you Pfizer, thank you Provident. We need the sponsors to make this happen. Now it's my pleasure to introduce you again to the President of the International Tennis Federation, Francesco Ricci Bitti.

PRESIDENT FRANCESCO RICCI BITTI: Thanks, Alan. Only a few words to say. I'm very happy to be here, this wonderful place. It's a privilege for all of us to be here in front of the "capitolium," as they say in Latin, so Latin is in between the two languages that I try to manage this morning. I would say that the Fed Cup is our major competition, team competition. It is 40 years old, but we work very hard to fill the gap with the Davis Cup, our major competition. The team competitions are a very special experience. I thank the players, as I said yesterday night, to make themselves available. To play for and to represent your own country is a special satisfaction, but also a special responsibility, and is unique in a sport that is basically individual. So we are very happy to have all the players here with us for this weekend, and I thank them again. Thanks to Alan and his team - great job. Everything looks very (inaudible) the most important in our family. would like to thank also the Washington, D.C. people. They are very hospitable, they are very friendly. Thanks, Senator Breaux. Thanks, all the friends here, to be with us and to host this event. Before closing and giving it over to Jane, the draw for tomorrow, the order of play, I will say I hope to be back, and I wish good luck to both teams (applause).

JANE HARVEY: Thank you, Francesco. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the draw of the 2003 Fed Cup World Group Quarterfinal between the USA and Italy here in Washington, D.C. The players have been introduced, and my two neutral umpires have been introduced, so we shall now commence the draw. The following players have been nominated to play singles: The No. 1 player for Italy is Francesca Schiavone. Their No. 2 player is Rita Grande. For USA, the No. 1 player is Chanda Rubin, and their No. 2 player, Meghann Shaughnessy. I shall now place the four names into this cup and one name will be drawn and this will decide the order of play for the entire tie. I shall now ask Senator Breaux to draw one name. Do not move the bowl, please (laughter).

SENATOR JOHN BREAUX: And the winner is...

JANE HARVEY: Francesca Schiavone. Therefore, the order of play for the first day will be the No. 2 player of the USA, Meghann Shaughnessy, to play the No. 1 player of Italy, Francesca Schiavone. This will be followed by the No. 1 player of the USA, Chanda Rubin, to play the No. 2 player of Italy, Rita Grande. On the second day, the regulations state that the No. 1 ranked players shall play each other first, followed by the No. 2 ranked players. Therefore, the matches will be as follows: Chanda Rubin versus Francesca Schiavone, followed by Meghann Shaughnessy against Rita Grande. I should mention that under the Fed Cup regulations, the captain may change the nomination of the singles players for the third and fourth singles matches providing such change to the third singles match is given to the referee and opposing captain at least one hour before the start of play of the third singles match, and that change with respect to the fourth singles is given no later than 10 minutes after completion of the third singles match. Thirty minutes after the fourth singles match, the doubles will be played. At present, the doubles teams nominated are: For Italy, Tathiana Garbin and Antonella Serra Zanetti. For the USA, Lisa Raymond and Chanda Rubin. However, the team captains can change their doubles nominations within 15 minutes of the conclusion of the fourth singles match. There will be an Opening Ceremony on court at 3:50 p.m. on Saturday the 19th of July, and the start of the first singles will follow immediately at approximately 4 p.m. On Sunday the 20th of July, there will be another on-court ceremony at 3:50 and play will start immediately afterwards at 4 p.m. Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes the draw. May I take this opportunity of wishing both teams good luck and an enjoyable weekend here in the beautiful city of Washington, D.C. Thank you very much (applause).

End of FastScripts….

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