How did they get in?
Australia will replace the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) in the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup – The Women’s World Cup of Tennis by Gainbridge Finals as the highest-ranked losing semi-finalist from the inaugural edition of the Finals in 2021.
The RTF team qualified automatically for this year’s spectacular as the 2021 winners, but their status was changed when their ITF membership and participation in ITF international team tournaments was prohibited on March 1.
Australia was the instant winner, albeit they did not play in the April Qualifiers, and their planned opponent Slovakia, whom they would face in Glasgow, also moved straight to the 2022 Finals.
Australia’s previous appearance in the women’s world cup was a final-four loss to Switzerland at the 2021 Finals, when Storm Sanders and Ajla Tomljanovic were defeated by Jil Teichmann and Belinda Bencic, respectively.
This gave the Swiss an unassailable advantage and a berth in the final, while the Australians, who had beaten Belgium and Belarus in the group stage, were forced to pack their belongings and fly home.
With seven victories between 1964 and 1974, Australia ranks third among all-time champions and has a remarkably rich Billie Jean King Cup history.
When celebrities like Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong Cawley brought home medals for their country, the 1960s and 1970s proved to be a true golden era for the Australians. A prize for individuals wearing green and gold, according to many, has been long overdue.
Since then, they have had multiple chances to take first place, most recently in 2019 when they advanced to the final on home soil in Perth but lost to a France team led by Kristina Mladenovic.
If Australia can achieve great heights in Glasgow’s Emirates Arena in November, only time will tell. Despite the fact that the streak began in 2017, five years ago, Alicia Molik’s team has won seven of its past nine fixtures, demonstrating strong current form.
Player to keep an eye on
Ajla Tomljanovic, the only player on her squad with a singles rating within the top 100 at No. 34 in the world, will bear a heavy burden if Australia is to even consider a championship challenge.
The focus should presumably be on the likely candidates for the position, though, if people hold the belief that a Billie Jean King Cup squad is only as good as its No. 2 player.
Priscilla Hon, who was born in Brisbane, has climbed more than 100 spots in the global rankings since the season began, partly as a result of her success on the ITF World Tennis Tour, where she has won three championships so far in 2022.
Storm Sanders, ranked 232 in the world, is an additional choice. She made her debut at the 2021 Finals and did it admirably, winning her first two singles matches against Yuliya Hatouka of Belarus and Elise Mertens of Belgium. The supporting cast for Tomljanovic has a challenging task ahead of them.
It is the responsibility of the players who are present to stop speculation about those who aren’t, particularly claims about how Australia could be doing if Ashleigh Barty hadn’t retired.
As the catalyst for Australia’s surge to the 2019 Billie Jean King Cup final, Barty played her final Billie Jean King Cup match before declaring her retirement from tennis at the age of 25 in March.
Two seeds Australia will attempt to defeat Belgium for the second straight Finals after being paired with them in Group B along with Slovakia and their European opponents.
Sam Stosur would pass Kerry Reid for second position on the all-time tally of Billie Jean King Cup victories for an Australian with any victory, which would almost definitely come in doubles.
Stosur presently trails Wendy Turnbull by nine victories in both singles and doubles, although she still leads the field with 29 singles victories, a record that has yet to be broken.
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