Alicia Molik became Australian Fed Cup captain in 2013, starting her captaincy with a tough 4-0 loss to the Czech Republic but building a strong team ready to fight for the title in recent years. After three seasons in World Group II, Australia has been on a roll in the last five ties, winning them all to secure the place in the elite group and continue the charge towards the final, their first since 1993 when Spain scored a 3-0 win in Germany.
On Sunday, Australia defeated Belarus in Brisbane after an incredible performance from their leader Ashleigh Barty who notched all three wins to carry her country into the title match against France in November on the home soil.
Proud of her team, Molik is confident about their chances in the final, seeking the first crown since 1974 in front of the partisan crowd and with Barty who is one of the best players in the world in both singles and doubles.
“We’ve established this great momentum as a team, the team bonding and feeling. We’ll try and carry that – I think it will give each player energy for the rest of the year. We’ve set our sights on winning the Fed Cup – I don’t remember anyone talking about just making it to the final, which is a good thing.
We’ve got the players, we’ve got the line-up, we’ve got the depth to win the Fed Cup. I know it’s a minimum stadium size of 5000 that is required for the final tie. Traditionally what we’ve liked to do is share it around Australia.
We’ve been quite vigilant with going to different major cities and regional areas – we won’t rule out anything. The good thing is we have a bit of time now. But Queensland has been brilliant, Brisbane amazing.
I think we had the biggest crowd for Fed Cup playing in Australia yesterday, that’s phenomenal. On an Easter weekend, that’s pretty difficult. Also a lot of families and kids here this weekend – how fabulous for them to watch role models like this.
It’s important not to forget that there are other players – like Kim, Astra and Casey – who are a part of this as well, players over the last two years who helped us to get to this point. What I've loved watching from Ashleigh is her level of maturity on court and ability to deal with adversity on court, the setbacks. It's been a massive shift, the way she deals with coming back... she loves the pressure”.