King to offer Seles Federation Cup slot

March 23, 1995|By New York Times News Service

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- Not to be outdone by the U.S. Davis Cup Dream Team of top-ranked Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, Billie Jean King was hoping to drop a bombshell of her own today by announcing the Federation Cup team that will face the Netherlands next month.

Encouraged by Monica Seles' apparent interest in playing in the Olympics in 1996, King, the team captain, said she intended to speak with Seles last night about her availability for this year's Fed Cup matches. King, speaking during the Lipton Championships, also planned to recruit Jennifer Capriati, the 1992 Olympic gold medalist.

Last year, Capriati agreed to be a Fed Cup alternate, but to be an eligible Olympian she must participate in the Fed Cup in 1995 or 1996. Seles must be available both years to qualify as an Olympian.

"I'll name her to the team if she wants to be on it, and Jennifer, too; my God, that would be great," said King, who already has a list of 10 available players for 1995 but has discretion to expand or reduce that list. For the first round next month, King is expected to nominate Lindsay Davenport and Mary Joe Fernandez for singles and name Martina Navratilova and Gigi Fernandez in doubles.

Even if the team fails to pass the opening round of this three-part competition, the United States would play a consolation round in July, and Seles could meet her eligibility requirement at that time. King said she also hoped to include Venus Williams, 14, on the Fed Cup farm team.

Meanwhile, defending Lipton champion Steffi Graf reached her ninth straight semifinal by beating Natasha Zvereva, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5); Graf is 22-3 against her next opponent, third seed Jana Novotna.

Men's singles, quarterfinals

Magnus Larsson (12), Sweden, def. Jaime Yzaga, Peru, 6-0, 6-3. Andre Agassi (2), Las Vegas, def. Wayne Ferreira (8), South Africa, 6-2, 6-4.

Women's singles, quarterfinals

Kimiko Date (7), Japan, def. Marianne Werdel Witmeyer, San Diego, 6-1, 7-5. Gabriela Sabatini (5), Argentina, def. Rachel McQuillan, Australia, 6-1, 6-3. Steffi Graf (2), Germany, def. Natasha Zvereva (6), Belarus, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5). Jana Novotna (3), Czech Republic, def. Anke Huber (8), Germany, 7-6 (6-4), 6-4.

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