| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff

The USTA has announced that the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass. has been selected as the site for the 2012 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round tie between the United States and Belarus, set for Feb. 4-5. Thirteen-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams has already committed to play for the United States Fed Cup Team in 2012, while current world number four Victoria Azarenka is expected to compete for Belarus.

“The DCU Center will be a great venue for this very important match and Serena’s return to the U.S. Fed Cup Team. Belarus will be a tough opponent and we will need our fans to come out in numbers and be loud to give us the home court advantage,” said U.S. Fed Cup Team Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “One of the last Fed Cup matches I played was in Boston, so I know firsthand that this area has and will embrace the competition.”

“Worcester eagerly awaits the opportunity to cheer on the United States in February during the 2012 Fed Cup,” said Worcester City Manager, Michael O’Brien. “Opportunities to work with organizations like the United States Tennis Association puts Worcester on an international stage and is ‘grand slam’ for the City, our hotels, and our downtown.”

The World Group II first round will mark the first-ever matchup between the U.S. and Belarus in Fed Cup competition. The winner of this match will advance to the World Group Playoff and play for a chance to compete for the Fed Cup title in 2013. The loser will compete in the World Group II Playoff and will either maintain its status in World Group II for the following year or be relegated to zonal competition.

This will be the first home tie for the U.S. since the 2010 Fed Cup Final in San Diego, where the team lost to Italy. In 2011, the U.S. played away ties in Belgium and Germany. The U.S. is 35-4 all-time in Fed Cup ties played at home.

This will be the third Fed Cup tie played in Massachusetts and first since the U.S. defeated the Czech Republic, 5-0, in the 2003 World Group first round at the Paul E. Tsongas Arena in Lowell. The U.S. Fed Cup Team is undefeated in Massachusetts, with the other win coming in the 1997 quarterfinal against Japan in Boston.