LONDON (AP) -- The defending-champion United States withdrew Thursday from next month's Fed Cup finals in Madrid, citing security concerns in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
The U.S. Tennis Association said the current situation made it inadvisable for elite American athletes to compete abroad as a team representing the country. The decision came after input from team captain Billie Jean King, players and government officials, the USTA said.
International Tennis Federation spokeswoman Barbara Travers said a replacement team would be selected no later than Monday, and perhaps by the end of this week.
"It's never a good thing when you lose your defending champion, but we have a lot of great players coming, solid teams and people with big track records," Travers said.
The U.S. team could have featured Venus and Serena Williams and Lindsay Davenport. The competition is scheduled Nov. 7-11.
"We're disappointed that we won't be able to defend our Fed Cup title, but with the concerns over security this was obviously the most prudent decision for us," King said. "The safety and lives of our entire team come first."
The Americans were part of an eight-team field that also includes Spain, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Argentina, Russia and Australia.
"We regret that the USTA felt it necessary to withdraw their team from the upcoming Fed Cup World Finals," said ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti. "I am certain that the American team is very disappointed that they will not be able to represent their country. We respect their concerns."
The U.S., the two-time defending champion of the Fed Cup, the women's version of the Davis Cup, had received a bye into the world finals.
The Americans beat Spain 5-0 last November in Las Vegas for a record 17th championship.
The four candidates to replace the U.S. are the teams that lost this season's playoff ties. Germany is the top candidate followed by Slovakia, Italy and Switzerland.
The order is based on the combined ranking -- as of Oct. 1 -- of the top two players likely to play.
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