Daria Gavrilova will lead the Australian team in the Fed Cup in Ukraine.
Daria Gavrilova will lead the Australian team in the Fed Cup in Ukraine. LYNN BO BO

Gavrilova ready for cold war in Ukraine

TENNIS: Daria Gavrilova says the absence of Sam Stosur from Australia's Fed Cup team to face the Ukraine will not change the way she plays in freezing Kharkiv this weekend.

World No. 26 Gavrilova will lead the Australian line-up with Stosur missing but the 22-year-old said she was not feeling the pressure.

"I've only played one year with Sam, so it's not a big difference for me," she said.

"For others, it's a change. But I'm just going to go out there and play. We'll see."

Australia can not win the Fed Cup this year as it is World Group II but Gavrilova and fellow singles player Ash Barty can help get the team to a playoff from which they could get back in the top eight for next year's competition.

To do that, the Aussies will have to overcome the cold weather and a decent Ukraine team.

"It's cold. It's just really, really cold," Moscow-raised Gavrilova said.

"It was minus 15 yesterday and it's minus 21 today.

"They said they were going to have the arena to around 18 degrees but it wasn't there in practice.

"I think we've got to get them to turn the heaters up."

Gavrilova knows world No.13 Elina Svitolina well having shared a friendship dating back more than a decade on the junior circuit.

In the past 18 months they have also played each other four times with the ledger standing at 2-2.

Gavrilova knows her friend will be a tough opponent.

"It's going to be hard. I've beaten her and she's beaten me," she said.

"We grew up together, played juniors all around the place, so I know how she plays."