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 challenge the greatest nations. 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.
Proud of her team, Molik is confident about their chances in the final against France in Perth on November 9-10, seeking the first crown since 1974 in front of the partisan crowd and led by Ashleigh Barty, one of the best players in the world in both singles and doubles.
"It is rewarding that our players want to represent their country and take the opportunity to be role models for the next generation. I feel fortunate to be in their company and to collaborate during Fed Cup ties, ensuring perfect preparation in the lead-up to ties.
Each player has individual needs in terms of workload and training to maximize success; perfect preparation does not stop on the court – a lot of the time it is having order around training times, rest time and listening to what a player feels they need.
When I was a player, it took me many years to control nerves and anxiety on the court, I've lost so many matches because of those, as well as self-doubt. I do have high standards in work ethic; it is about encouraging someone to change for the better and explore their potential.
Coaching doesn't stop on the court; it's about being a role model, honest and always upbeat for the player. I was fortunate to have so many wonderful coaches through my path in tennis, learning so much from them, they all had their way and inspired me to want to stay involved in the sport as a coach too.
I hope my greatest Fed Cup memory is around the corner in November in the Fed Cup final against France, we want to win the Fed Cup and know how to do it. For our players, it's about being resilient under pressure and accepting the tough moments.
I see the final as a continuation of our Fed Cup year. We don't need to change – we need to hold ourselves to the same standards and not reinvent the wheel because it's the final. It's a privilege and we have earned the right to be there.
Winning the Fed Cup would be special – and with perfect preparation must come perfect celebration! It would mean each team player has achieved something historic for the rest of their lives. They will forever be part of this special group.
Winning it hopefully also means more young primary school kids bug their parents to take them to tennis a few more times a week."