Kathy Rinaldi to step down as U.S. Billie Jean King Cup captain after 2023
After more than six successful years as the captain of the U.S. Billie Jean King Cup team, Kathy Rinaldi will step down from her role following the 2023 Finals. While she is set to leave her post as captain, Rinaldi will remain in her position as USTA Player Development's head of women's tennis.
Rinaldi was named captain of the U.S. team in December 2016 and immediately delivered by leading the nation to its record 32nd Billie Jean King Cup title the following year. In doing so, she became the first U.S. captain since 1986 to win the title in their first season at the helm.
Rinaldi also led the U.S. team to the final in 2018 and the semifinals in 2021, producing an 11-5 record in ties to date.
“Having the distinct role of being named captain of the U.S. Billie Jean King Cup Team was one of the greatest honors of my life," she reflected. "It has been an incredible ride for six-plus years! I certainly hope I made Billie Jean proud. I have so much love and admiration for her and for her iconic impact on women in sports, and for the impact she and Ilana [Kloss] continue to have on my life.
“First and foremost, I want to personally thank each and every American player for always saying yes when they got my call to play, and raising their hand to represent America. They represented the USA with heart and class! We always left it all on the court while having a lot of fun, too. Thank you, players, for the opportunity to be your captain, and sharing the bench with you! I want each and every American player to know how much they have impacted my life in such a positive way. I will treasure each of you and the memories we made together forever!
“I also want to say thank you to all the fans for your support of our team! We felt your love, and it sure was an honor to battle in front of you, knowing that you were always behind us no matter what. We heard you!
“Thank you to my incredible USTA team and family, the coaches, the Performance Team and the staff for your support, love and friendships, and needless to say your dedication and tireless hard work. You inspire me each and every day!
“Last but certainly not least, I want to thank my devoted husband and son for their continued love and support of me, my career and my passion for tennis. I couldn’t do this without you!
"Even though I’m stepping down as captain, I’m extremely excited to continue dedicating my time and effort toward supporting our American players as the USTA’s head of women’s tennis. I’m also excited to see what’s next in my journey to impact this most amazing sport on a broader scale. Let’s go, USA!”
Rinaldi will lead the U.S. team one last time at the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup Finals, to be held November 7-12 in Seville, Spain. A victory against Austria in April's Qualifiers sealed the team's place in the Finals, where they will compete in Group A alongside defending champion Switzerland and the Czech Republic in hopes of advancing to the knockout semifinals and beyond.
Stacey Allaster, chief executive of professional tennis with the USTA, led the tributes to the outgoing captain.
"Kathy has been an incredible captain and an inclusive leader on and off the court for our players," she said. "Her pride and passion to lead the American team was unwavering, and the athletes loved to play for her. We have been fortunate to have such a champion lead the Billie Jean King Cup Team and are equally if not more fortunate that Kathy will continue in her role as head of women's tennis to coach, support and inspire today's players and our future Billie Jean King Cup team members."