Venus Williams leads U.S. Fed Cup team

April 23, 2004 at 7:59 PM

PORTOROZ, Slovenia, April 23 (UPI) -- Venus Williams is healthy enough to represent the United States in the Fed Cup this weekend and she may be just enough to get her country into the second round.

The U.S. Fed Cup squad visits Slovenia in one of eight first-round matches in the international team event.

Thanks in part to injuries suffered by the dominant Williams sisters, the United States has gone three years without a Fed Cup title. But Venus is back this weekend.

Venus will cheer on teammates Lisa Raymond and Martina Navratilova. and Raymond will face Tina Pisnik and Katarina Srebotnik once each in singles before Raymond and Navratilova take on Srebotnik and Tina Krizan in doubles.

Zina Garrison will making her debut as American captain.

The United States has won a record 16 Fed Cups since the tournament debuted in 1963.

Also this weekend, Austria takes on Slovakia; Russia hosts Australia; Japan visits Argentina; Italy meets the Czech Republic; France battles Germany; and Belgium entertains Croatia.

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