Pacific Oceania claim Fed Cup 'underdog' tag

The Pacific Oceania Fed Cup tennis team have claimed "underdog" status in their attempts to earn promotion from Asia/Oceania Zone Group Two.

Papua New Guinea's Abigail Tere-Apisah and Samoa's Steffi Carruthers are back for a fourth consecutive year, while Carol Lee from the Northern Marianas will make her second appearance for the composite side.

The women face Iran in today's opening round, a side they defeated during last year's Group Two tournament, and will also face Oman and Malaysia in Pool C.

Team captain Gilles De Gouy said the team has arrived in Bahrain fit and ready to go.

"Our goal is to win and make sure that everyone is also getting higher and higher in terms of rhythm and expectation," he said.

"I have some different expectation regarding the girls - I'm asking more for Abigal and Carol, I don't want her to be too much on the side so tomorrow she is going to be involved and she is going to be part of the tie, which is good for her."

The top team from each of the four pools will advance to the promotion playoff matches but Gilles De Gouy said they are not looking that far ahead.

"We are underdog because we have two very very good strong teams, two other nations, so we have an opportunity to play this match at the end of the week if we finish first of our pool, our pool, to be able to play this promotion match."

Abigail Tere-Apisah is the highest ranked singles player in the team at 333 in the world and has built an impressive 7-2 win-loss record in Fed Cup over the past three years.

"For the order you need to respect the ITF or WTA rankings so Abigail is definitely our best female Pacific player currently, she has quite a good ranking," De Gouy said.

"Then I could switch, something I did in terms of strategies so Carol is listed at number two and Steffi at number will find that if Abigail is getting injured I could fit Steffi in the number two position.

Carol Lee partnered Tahiti's Mayka Zima in the doubles last year but Gilles De Gouy said they intend to go with their most established pairing this time.

"We worked on our doubles this afternoon and definitely I should say the most experienced and playing really well is Abigail and Steffi together," he said.

"We have very good teams like Uzbekistan who have four players in the top 300 and it's going to be a lot of pressure for them playing so I can feel that at this time we need an experienced doubles (team)."

Pacific Oceania beat Iran at the same stage last year and Gilles De Gouy said he is confident they can start on a winning note.