Optus Australian Fed Cup team named
Tuesday, 16 April, 2002
By Kim TRengove
MELBOURNE PARK - Debutante Optus Australian Fed Cup captain Evonne Goolagong Cawley today named her team for the forthcoming World Group tie against Belgium in Brussels (April 27-28).
The Australian tennis legend announced Nicole Pratt (world ranked No.38), Alicia Molik (No.48), Rennae Stubbs (No.2 in doubles) and Samantha Stosur (No.268) to contest the tie against the formidable Belgiums, whose leading players are Kim Clijsters (No.4) and Justine Henin (No.8).
In announcing her players, Goolagong Cawley emphasised the need to blood new, young players to Fed Cup, recalling that she had first been given a chance to represent her country as a 19-year-old in 1970, playing alongside her idol Margaret (Smith) Court. Defeating Great Britain in the Final that year, she went on to compete in the prestigious competition for seven years and amassed a 35-5 win-loss record. "I have always been passionate about playing for my country," she said. "That's what it will come down to – how passionate they (the players) are….Anything could happen. We've got nothing to lose and everything to gain."
Also selected to the team as a hitting partner is South Australian junior Adriana Szili, who recently won her first ITF$US10,000 women's circuit title in Wellington. "My aim when selecting this team was to choose a blend of differing talents and levels of experience," Goolagong Cawley said. "Alicia and Nicole are currently our best singles players but also have the ability to perform well in doubles. Australia's No.1 junior Samantha has proven she is a rising star and deserves the opportunity to step up and learn, while Rennae is a great doubles player with tremendous experience."
Stubbs, who has won five doubles titles this year with American Lisa Raymond, last represented Australia in April 2000. "I am very pleased to be representing my country again," Stubbs said. "It's always something I have taken a lot of pride in. As far as having Evonne as captain, it's definitely a career highlight. To have someone I looked up to and admired so much growing up as your captain is something special. Not only was she a great champion, but she is an amazingly gracious person."
Australia leads Belgium 5-2 in Fed Cup, however Australia has won the last two occasions (in 2000 and 2001).
Stosur? What is she thinking?? Evie is ten times better!! Nice to see Stubbs back! Tell me though, if Pratt or Molik get injured in the first singles rubber, who will fill their place in the reverse singles. How embarassing to put Stubbs or Stosur in the reverse singles
The need a back up singles player and with this team of 4 they don't have that!