Australia vs France: Barty to experience Garcia in Fed Cup last

Tanya Simon
November 10, 2019

Tomjlanovic was picked by captain Alicia Molik ahead of former US Open victor Samantha Stosur, who will partner Barty in the doubles against Mladenovic and Garcia should it be required.

With the most wins on tour (56), most top 10 wins (12), her first Grand Slam title, a WTA Finals title and the No. 1 ranking, Barty has easily been the standout Australian female performer in over a decade.

Ajla Tomljanovic will make her debut for Australia playing the opening singles match Saturday against Kristina Mladenovic.

Australia has won the Fed Cup title on seven occasions, but the last triumph for the Aussies was almost 45 years ago.

Despite winning the 2011 US Open and making the French Open semi-finals four times, Stosur has long struggled to deal with the limelight in Australia. I'll be on the sideline with the rest of the girls cheering on Ajla and Ash [Barty] tomorrow and doing whatever we can to contribute to their performance on court.

"Sunday - if I get the chance to play - I'll love every single second of it".

Most disappointingly for Stosur and Australian fans, her underwhelming form at home - failing to pass the fourth round at the Australian Open - has seen her labelled an underachiever throughout her career.

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The former Brighton and Watford manager, who started his career at the Nou Camp, said: "We wanted to go out, be fearless and win". Real Madrid's convincing 4-0 win at Eibar earlier on Saturday had kept up the pressure.

Tomljanovic and Mladenovic know each other well - the pair rose through the junior ranks in Europe together and their fathers played each other in professional handball.

"We practice often together and we know each other really well", Mladenovic said.

However, her work at Fed Cup level can not be ignored. Should she win 3 matches this weekend - as she did in both the World Group first round and semifinals this year - she will become the first player to win the maximum possible number of Fed Cup matches in a year (9) since the current format was adopted in 1995. Her work was acknowledged by the ITF, which presented her with an award ahead of the final draw on Friday.

Should she win 2 singles matches, she will become the 10th player to complete a ideal year in Fed Cup singles since 1995.

Court has indicated she will attend the Fed Cup final and may meet with TA chief Craig Tiley while in town. "Sam has paved the path for all of us, we've all grown up watching her, we've had the privilege of playing with her, playing against her, and I think I'm just trying to do my best to run off that".

The omens don't bode well - Australia have lost the last eight Fed Cup finals they have contested since winning their last one in 1974.

"Everyone's been really encouraging so I'm definitely drawing from that the most".

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