RINALDI EXPECTS U.S.
TO RISE TO FED CUP CHALLENGE
Ashley Marshall | April 18, 2018
AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France – U.S. Fed Cup captian Kathy Rinaldi says she expects Team USA to rise to the challenge when it faces France in the Fed Cup semifinals this weekend.
Rinaldi is looking to guide Team USA to its second consecutive final after leading the U.S. to a title in her first year at the helm in 2017.
She will have another elite team at her disposal in the south of France, which includes reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens, US Open finalist Madison Keys, two-time Grand Slam semfinalist Coco Vandeweghe and former world No. 1 doubles player Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Rinaldi (pictured above) says the biggest key to victory will be living in the moment and working as a team.
"Embracing the crowd, embracing this opportunity," Rinaldi said. "We need to have each other’s back like we have been doing. ADVERTISEMENT We will have fun but work hard. These are special weeks and, as a captain, I really enjoy my time with the players. I hope we can all walk away with a memorable week that the players won’t forget.
"Of course, we are here to win, and I’m sure they are, too. It will be wonderful to play in front of the French crowd. In my career, I have fond memories playing in France, so I think everyone will be excited to be here."
This is the first time this group of players has played on the same Fed Cup team, but there's no shortage of experience in the quartet.
Stephens, who currently sits at a career-high No. 9 in the world, will be playing in her sixth Fed Cup competition, while Keys will be contesting her fourth tie. Vandeweghe made Fed Cup history last year by going 8-0 in singles and doubles play to lead the U.S. team to its 18th championship, while Mattek-Sands is a perfect 7-0 in Fed Cup doubles play.
"We have three Top 20 players plus Bethanie, who is a former world No. 1 in doubles, so we are very happy with our team," Rinaldi said. "I am very happy with all of the teams I have brought. We have a lot of great players, and I believe in all of our American players, so I am very confident. As a captain, I am very fortunate to have so many players to choose from.
"Camaraderie was a big strength last year and coming into this year. All of the girls get along well. Their games speak for themselves – they are all strong. They all enjoy playing Fed Cup and representing their countries. We can’t underestimate anyone on the French team. Fed Cup brings out a lot of emotions, especially when the players are playing for their country and, of course, they have the home crowd on their side."