Guthrie Makes Fed Cup Team

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Guthrie_Abby030912_SKB.jpgThis time last year, former All-American Abby Guthrie was practicing with her Rebel teammates preparing for the ITA National Team Indoor.  Fast forward a year later, and the New Zealand native is practicing for a much bigger tournament.

Guthrie, native of Auckland, was selected to the New Zealand Federation Cup team, the female version of the Davis Cup.  The Kiwis are in Astana, Kazakhstan for the Asia/Oceania Zone Group II matches, which began Feb. 4 and continue through Feb. 10. 

In 2012, 90 nations entered Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, making it the world's largest annual international team competition in women's sports.  Fed Cup is structured with an eight-nation World Group and eight-nation World Group II, contested over three weekends during the year. The remaining countries are then divided into three regional ones depending on their location and play a week-long competition.

The upcoming round-robin event includes two pools of six teams.  The winners of each pool will play off against each other to determine which one team will advance to Asia/Oceania Zone Group I in 2014.

"Representing my country in Fed Cup is a goal I have had for many years, and it's an awesome feeling playing with my country's name on my back," Guthrie said.  "I have represented New Zealand in juniors before, but my ultimate goal was to play on the senior team one day.  Now, I have the opportunity to do so."

Since Guthrie was over here playing at Ole Miss for four years, she did not have any results for her to be considered initially for the team.   Therefore, when she returned to New Zealand for the semester break, Guthrie competed in the New Zealand National Championship.  She did well in singles and won the doubles title.
"The coaches knew of my results and achievements in college and one selector was at the NCAA tournament in Athens (Georgia) last May," said Guthrie on the process of selection. After nationals I got selected for a wildcard into a WTA tournament in my home town. After competing well in that the coaches selected four players to travel to Australia then Kazakhstan for Fed Cup, and I was one of them.

"My teachers have been really great in allowing me to take time off class to represent my country, Guthrie added.  The tournament starts on Monday and right now we are training hard and battling the freezing temperatures, which got down to -27."

Her former teammates and coaches are excited for Guthrie and will be keeping a close watch on the results this upcoming week.

"It is a great honor for Abby to be able to represent her country in Federation Cup," said Ole Miss head coach Mark Beyers.  "It is something she has worked towards for quite a while, and was one of her goals for herself after finishing her eligibility here at Ole Miss.  I am certain she'll be a great addition to the team."

When she finishes play, Guthrie will return to Oxford to complete her degree and help coach the Rebel netters.

During her career at Ole Miss, Guthrie helped lead the Rebels to the NCAA Championships all four years of her career, including the Sweet Sixteen in 2010 as well as the SEC Western Division Championship.  She earned All-America honors as a senior finishing ranked No. 7 in the nation in doubles.

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