Nov. 28, 2013
HOUSTON--- University of Houston sophomore Maria Andrea Cardenas has been picked to play for team Venezuela in Fed Cup play, as announced on Thursday morning.
Cardenas becomes the third current Cougar to represent her country in Fed Cup action, as Despoina Vogasari (Greece) and Tina Rupert (Slovenia) also compete for their respective national teams. The Cardenas addition to the Venezuelan team also makes it so Houston’s entire 2013 recruiting class plays for their individual national teams. The class was ranked as the sixth strongest in the nation.
“Representing your country is the highest honor in sports and we are all thrilled for Maria and her family,” said head coach Patrick Sullivan. “During the recruitment process, I spoke with Maria and her father Juan at length about this being one of her top goals in tennis and we have been working together to give her the best chance to play in the tournaments that would help her stay on her federation's radar. To Maria's credit, she has worked her tail off, made huge improvements in her game, and has made the most of her opportunities. Coach Wooten and I were very excited to get the great news and we are so pleased for the entire Cardenas family.”
The Fed Cup is the premier team competition in women's tennis, launched in 1963 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). While many nations enter the Fed Cup each year, only 16 countries qualify for the elite World Group and World Group II each year. Venezuela will compete in the Americas Zone Group I again in 2014, after having survived a relegation play-off to maintain its status in this tier for the third straight year. This year's Zonal Group will be held the week of February 3rd in Lambare, Paraguay. Venezuela will compete in pool play against the Bahamas, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Paraguay.
This will be Cardenas’ first time competing for her national team.
Fans will get the chance to see a collection of some of the best international talent in the world, as the Cougars open up their 2014 spring campaign at home on Jan. 24 vs. UTSA.