As an outsider, Austria will contest the 2023 Gainbridge Finals Billie Jean King Cup qualifier against the USA in Delray Beach on Friday (from midnight CEST and Saturday from 8pm CEST, both in-stream). www.oetv.tv).
Last Saturday, the team arrived around ÖTV Billie Jean King Cup leader and sports coordinator Marion Maruska with support staff and Barbara Haas.
Julia Graber flew in directly from the WTA tournament in Charleston, Singa Krause and Melanie Klavner traveled from the WTA event in Bogota, and Tamira Paszek previously traveled to the US state of Florida.
Maruska is happy with a nice reception
ÖTV sports director and Davis Cup captain Jürgen Melzer also arrived outside on Monday night and joined the squad. Professional heights and top form: the prerequisites are right, “We have been very well received here, everything fits,” Maruska reports after the first few days on site.
“We have here our own contact person who takes care of everything if we need anything. It’s usually just little things, but every wish comes true.” Meanwhile, preparations are in full swing: “We trained for the first time on Sunday, when the weather was nice. On Monday, it was really difficult because it was very windy and it rained again and again. We were still able to train twice as planned, But it was really difficult to play this time.”
However, first impressions of the Delray Beach Tennis Center are very positive: “They have a total of five hard courts here, two of which are set up like center court. So the US has a flat practice court all day and so do we. Center court can only be played on Tuesdays.” , and there is still work to be done. But it is a big stadium, really huge ”- after all, the stadium offers space for 4,000 spectators. Billie Jean King, who named the national championship after her, is also expected to be present on match days.
The top two women from ÖTV enter the week of international competition with new career-high rankings. With her victory and reaching the round of 16 at the WTA 500 event in Charleston, Grabher played No. 78 in the world’s top 80 for the first time, Kraus knocked loudly after her first WTA main draw win at the 250 Championships in Bogota as No. 153 in the top 150. So The shape is perfect.
An impression that has also been confirmed in training so far: “The referee may have been a little more difficult due to the bad weather conditions, but I have the feeling that our women hit the ball very well and are in perfect condition,” he said. Maruska with confidence, to be able to take on the USA, she must also be at her best, as the USA can muster the third and sixth in the world, Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff.
With two players in the top six, the US women, who did not practice on site on Monday, last competed in an international match in 2005.
US ladies with quinine instead of keys
However, the form seems to be suitable for flight attendants as well. Pegula was only stopped in the semifinals in Charleston, which due to weather could not be held until Sunday, the final day. Danielle Rose Collins, ranked 39th, the fifth-best singles player in the country, also won the doubles competition in the US state of South Carolina.
However, the United States made a line-up change: Madison Keys (WTA 21), their country’s third-strongest player, was replaced by Sofia Kenin (WTA 134), a recent Australian Open winner and 2020 French Open finalist.
The USTA hasn’t given an official reason for this, but the effects are likely to be marginal anyway, as Cathy Rinaldi’s team will likely rely on the Pegula/Goff premiere duo anyway. Maruska was clear: “They have a very strong team one way or the other – we are of course a complete underdog.” But the dream of making the US goliath falter for the third time in a row after 2002 and 2004 still lives on. “We certainly do everything we can.”
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