From an op-ed in the Bahamas Journal dated March 17th, 2010 “Former BLTA President Backs Russell and Fountain”:

Former Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association President and Fed Cup team captain Giorgio Baldacci has put his support behind a protest against the BLTA after the federation left top female players Nikkita Fountain and Grand Bahamian Larikah Russell off the National Team that will compete at the Fed Cup Championships.

Former Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association President and Fed Cup team captain Giorgio Baldacci has put his support behind a protest against the BLTA after the federation left top female players Nikkita Fountain and Grand Bahamian Larikah Russell off the National Team that will compete at the Fed Cup Championships.

Although not publicly The BLTA has listed the team of Kerrie Cartwright, Grand Bahamian Simone Pratt for the American Group Two tie that is scheduled to be played in April in Ecuador.

On Saturday during a press conference Baldacci described the situation as a “slap in the face” of the two players. 

Baldacci explained that that unlike this time, in the past the captain and not the board would name the team before beginning the two weeks training program before traveling to the competition.

In 2009 the team of Russell, Fountain and Cartwright, captained by Sean Cartwright, lost all three ties in the Americans Group One and was demoted to Group Two for 2010.

With Baldacci as the captain in 2002, the Bahamas turned in its best performance in the Fed Cup since it started playing in 1990. The team of Fountain, Russell and Shari Dillet, also of Grand Bahama, finished with a 2-1 record to remain in Group One after being promoted in 2001.

In 2003, however, the team of Fountain, Jessica Sweeting and Keva Palmer, dropped its two matches and were demoted to Group Two. Following 2003 The Bahamas did not play the next four years as some of the top players were unavailable.

The Bahamas returned to Fed Cup play in 2008 as Sean Cartwright captained the team of Fountain, Cartwright, Russell and Elanqua Griffin to a 3-0 record in Group Two and the Bahamas was promoted back to Group One.

Fountain, who has a 19-23 win-loss record, including 10-14 in singles has the second longest tenure in Fed Cup play with seven years experience behind Kim Cartwright who has nine. Russell is the best individual player with a 23-9 total wins, including a 12-5 record in singles and 11-4 in doubles.

They said what was so disturbing is the BLTA didn’t notify them that they were not on the team. They found out through the federation’s web site.

According to Fountain and Russell the BLTA has selected a team of three junior players who don’t have the experience that is needed to play at the highest level in team competition.

Reportedly BLTA president Steve Turnquest said the committee decided to keep Fountain and Russell off the team because neither of them participated in the December Christmas Invitational at the National Tennis Center, which served as one of the criteria for selection.

However, [F]ountain said she provided the federation with a doctor’s certificate, which was allowed provided for in the criteria preventing her from being penalized. While Russell says she was told she would not be penalized for missing the tournament, but they apparently have been penalized.

The Christmas Invitational was first advertised as the official trials for up coming national teams, but later promoted as only as a tournament where players could have gained points towards their rankings.