Visa problem hits Russian team

Moscow, July 10:

Russian Fed Cup team captain Shamil Tarpishchev has been unable to join his squad in the United States for this weekend’s Fed Cup semi-final clash as he has failed to procure a US visa.

“I am awaiting an answer from the US embassy,” a frustrated Tarpishchev said. “The International Olympic Committee and Russia’s foreign ministry are all trying to help along with the American side, but nothing can be done. Even if I get the visa today I would not be able to join my squad before Saturday.”

Tarpishchev, who is also the head of the Russian tennis federation and an IOC member, added that it was not the first time he had had problems in obtaining an American visa.

The veteran official last week attended the IOC vote on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Guatemala and had planned to travel directly from there to the United States, but was refused entry.

The Russian skipper named Nadia Petrova, Anna Chakvetadze, Yelena Vesnina and Alla Kudryavtseva in his squad, which will face the hosts at a specially constructed 3,000-seat venue at Stowe, Vermont in a clash for a place in the final.

Defending champions Italy will host France in the other semi-final with the final scheduled for September 15-16. The Americans, winners of a record 17 Fed Cup crowns, have not won the title since 2000. The Russians won the Fed Cup in 2004 and 2005.