Venus confirms for Fed Cup
Melbourne - Venus Williams on Monday confirmed her availability for the American Fed Cup tie with Italy in February, saying she was keen to be involved.
The 32-year-old is moving up the rankings after battling injury and illness in recent years and was in sparkling form in her first round Australian Open clash with Kazak Galina Voskoboeva, winning 6-1, 6-0.
Asked if she had decided whether to play against Italy in Rimini, she said: "Yeah, yeah.
"I think I'm confirmed for the team, but I don't know," she added.
"I love team events. World Team Tennis, playing last year, it was fantastic. Playing Hopman Cup was a lot of fun because I felt a lot of responsibility to the team. I do enjoy that. It's extra motivation for me."
The USA bounced back into the Fed Cup top flight last year with a straight-sets win over Ukraine in a World Group play-off tie.
Their rivalry with Italy stretches back to the very first edition of Fed Cup competition in 1963 when the Americans stormed to a 3-0 victory.
They went on to win all of the first nine meetings between the two nations but Italy have had the better of it more recently, beating the Americans in the final two years running in 2009 and 2010.