Australian Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik expects 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur’s experience will have a huge impact as the team attempts to return to the World Group against the Netherlands in Wollongong next week.
Stosur, world No.18 Ashleigh Barty and No.24 Daria Gavrilova will spearhead the nation’s charge at WIN Entertainment Centre, which will have a purpose built tennis court finished on Monday in preparation for the showdown.
The team announcement, exclusively revealed by the Mercury, comes as Casey Dellacqua, announces her retirement, after a successful singles career and doubles partnership with Barty.
Molik admits Dellacqua’s decision has provided some headaches when it comes to team selection against the Dutch next week.
“Absolutely and we’re going to have to work on that between now and then,” she told the Mercury.
“Ash and Casey were such a formidable doubles combination, but there’s an opportunity there for Australia to do something special and return to the World Group.
“And we certainly hve the talent to be able to make it happen.
“The good thing is, everyone is committed to making it happen and I’m delighted Sam is part of the team, her experience is invaluable.”
In 2002, Molik won a gripping doubles battled, also against the Netherlands with Rennae Stubbs, to put Australia back into the World Group. The Aussies will start favourites for the tie, because while the Dutch team is yet to confirm who will be available, Kiki Bertens is ranked No.29 in singles and 19 in doubles, while 25-year-old Richel Hogenkamp (ranked 104), 27-year-old Arantxa Rus (120) are leading candidates. The tie will be played on April 21-22, with the doubles the decided match if it comes to it.
Barty has a highly-credentialed doubles career, making the final of every grand slam event, and has almost $3 million prizemoney.
Stosur made the 2010 French Open final as well as winning in the US the following year, at one point being world No.4.