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Fed Cup coming to Asheville's U.S. Cellular Center

United States' team celebrates after winning the Fed Cup final match between Belarus and USA, in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Nov.12, 2017. United States defeated Belarus 3-2 and gained the Fed Cup title. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

An international sporting event is coming to Asheville: The 2018 Fed Cup --the world cup of women's tennis--will be held at the U.S. Cellular Center.

The space will be completely transformed for this event.

The U.S. Tennis Association made the official announcement Tuesday morning that the first round of the Fed Cup will be at the U.S. Cellular Center on February 10 and 11, 2018.

It will be USA taking on the team from the Netherlands, and we can expect to see world-class players like Sloane Stephens and Coco Vandeweghe here in Asheville .

Officials with the U.S. Tennis Association say Fed Cup events are important for players aiming to move on to the Olympics.

They tell us transforming an arena into a tennis court is no problem, as they often do it for exhibition games--but the space will certainly feel different for guests.

"It will transform the venue I think into a different color and shape, one that you probably haven't seen before. But it's again, something we really like to do to present the tennis," said Jeffrey Ryan, senior director of the U.S. Tennis Association.

The general manager of the U.S. Cellular Center says the arena can accommodate up to 5000 people, and he expects the event to sell out.

"Anytime you get 3,000 to 5,000 people in town it will help, especially in February," said Asheville's Vice Mayor, Gwen Wisler.

Chris Corl, general manager of the U.S. Cellular Center, had a hand in submitting the bid. He says this means Asheville is the only city in the U.S. to host the event for the first round.

"It's really a transformative event for a venue and a place, and it's a great community event. The goal of the United States Tennis Association is to expand the sport of tennis," Corl said.

Two-day ticket packages for both Saturday and Sunday will be sold at reduced prices ranging from $50 to $250 ($25 to $125 per day). Single-day tickets for Saturday or Sunday will be sold with prices ranging from $30 to $135 per day.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting this site or by calling 888-334-USTA (8782).

Tickets go on sale this Friday, November 17, at 10 a.m.

Below is the full release from the U.S. Tennis Association:

U.S. CELLULAR ARENA IN ASHEVILLE, N.C., TO HOST 2018 FED CUP BY BNP PARIBAS WORLD GROUP
FIRST ROUND BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND THE NETHERLANDS, FEB. 10-11
U.S. Team Comes to Asheville after Winning its 18th Overall Fed Cup and First Title Since 2000 in Belarus This Past Weekend
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Nov. 14, 2017 – The USTA today announced that the U.S. Cellular Arena in Asheville, N.C., has been selected as the site for the 2018 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group First Round between the United States and the Netherlands, Feb. 10-11. Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with approximately 100 nations taking part each year.
The U.S. comes to Asheville after winning its record 18th Fed Cup title this past weekend against Belarus in Minsk. The title-winning team was led by world No. 10 and 2017 US Open semifinalist Coco Vandeweghe, No. 13 and 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Top 70 players Shelby Rogers and Alison Riske. This was the U.S.’s first Fed Cup title since 2000.
The best-of-five match series against the Netherlands begins Saturday, Feb. 10, with two singles matches. That is followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday, Feb. 11. Matches will be played on a temporary indoor hard court. The winner of this matchup will advance to the Fed Cup Semifinals, April 21-22.
Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Friday, Nov. 17, at 10 a.m. ET. Two-day ticket packages for both Saturday and Sunday will be sold at reduced prices ranging from $50 to $250 ($25 to $125 per day), representing the greatest initial ticket value. Single-day tickets for Saturday or Sunday will be sold with prices ranging from $30 to $135 per day. Tickets may be purchased by visiting www.usta.com/fedcup or by calling 888-334-USTA (8782).
USTA members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets in advance through a special USTA member-only presale beginning Tuesday, Nov. 14, and running through Thursday, Nov. 16 (or while supplies last).
"We are incredibly excited to bring the 2017 Fed Cup Champions to Asheville, a city with a rich tennis history that goes back more than a century," said USTA Chairman of the Board, CEO and President, Katrina Adams. "Having just hoisted the Fed Cup trophy this past weekend in Minsk after their win over Belarus in the Fed Cup final, the team is already looking forward to competing again in February against the Netherlands, and is hoping to start another title run in front of an enthusiastic North Carolina crowd."
Asheville will be hosting Fed Cup for the first time. The U.S. Fed Cup team has played in North Carolina on three prior occasions, holding a 2-1 record in the state. The U.S. competed last in North Carolina in 2002, in Charlotte at the Olde Providence Racquet Club. The team also played in Raleigh in 1999 at the Raleigh Racquet Club, as well as in Wilmington in 1995 at Trask Coliseum.
The U.S. was drawn to play away in the Netherlands for the 2018 World Group First Round when the draw took place in September, but the USTA choose to exercise its right under new Fed Cup regulations to host the first-round tie. Under regulations that came into effect from the International Tennis Federation in August, the finalist nations in the 2017 Fed Cup Final (the U.S. and Belarus) were given the option of hosting their 2018 first-round ties.
The USTA has partnered with ExploreAsheville.com to bring this event to Asheville.
“I am thrilled that Asheville will play host to some of the most talented women’s tennis stars in the world,” said Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer. “This will be an exciting event for all who attend.”
“The U.S. Cellular Center team is excited to play host to such a prestigious event on an international stage while highlighting Asheville as a premier tennis community,” said Chris Corl, General Manager of the U.S. Cellular Center.
The U.S. holds a 6-2 head-to-head record over the Netherlands in Fed Cup play. The U.S. last faced the Netherlands in the 1998 World Group First Round in Kiawah Island, S.C., sweeping the tie, 5-0. The Americans’ only losses to the Dutch came in 1968 and 1997.
U.S. Fed Cup Captain Kathy Rinaldi will select the four players to represent the U.S. no later than 10 days prior to the event. With the win this past weekend, Rinaldi, who made her debut as the U.S. Fed Cup Captain in 2017, became the first Captain since Marty Riessen in 1986 to win the Fed Cup title in the first year of captaincy.
The site selection is subject to final approval by the ITF. Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage of the World Group First Round.
The U.S. is 40-6 all-time in Fed Cup ties played at home and holds an overall 148-36 record. For more information, including access to player and historical Fed Cup records, please go to www.usta.com/fedcup or www.fedcup.com. Follow the U.S. Fed Cup team on Facebook @USTA, on Twitter @USTA, and on Instagram @USTennis. Wilson is the official ball of the U.S. Fed Cup team. Deloitte is the official team sponsor of the U.S. Fed Cup Team for the first time in 2017.
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The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level -- from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. A not-for-profit organization with more than 715,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, one of the highest-attended annual sporting events in the world, and launched the US Open Series, linking seven summer WTA and ATP World Tour tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns approximately 90 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S. and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA’s philanthropic entity, the USTA Foundation, provides grants and scholarships in addition to supporting tennis and education programs nationwide to benefit under-resourced youth through the National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network. For more information about the USTA, go to USTA.com or follow the official accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.

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