Spain, without complexes in the new Billie Jean King Cup

Sara Sorribes, at the Billie Jean King Cup in Prague

Sheltered by the O2 Arena in Prague, the imperial, beautiful and magnificent city, capital of the Czech Republic, which is gradually getting used to the cold again, Spain makes its debut today (17:00, TDP) against Slovakia in the new Finals of the Billie Jean King Cup. The name of the American legend by which the old Federation Cup has been known since 2020, a tournament by countries that the Navy conquered five times in the 90s, thanks to the talent and race of Arantxa Sánchez Vicario and Conchita Martínez.

The National Team could have attended the final phase of this edition, postponed twice due to the pandemic and which opens a format very similar to that of the Davis Cup in Piqué (hard court, indoor, four groups of three teams, semifinals and final with elimination rounds of two singles matches and one doubles), with an aspiring champion formation. But the two best in the ranking, Muguruza (5th) and Badosa (11th) were dropped from the call. to give priority to the preparation of the WTA Finals, which are held next week in Guadalajara (Mexico) at 11,500 kilometers, in height (1,500 meters) and in the open air. Barty (Australia), Sabalenka (Belarus) and Karolina Pliskova (Czechia) did the same, unlike two other tennis players from the host nation, Krejcikova (3rd), classified in singles and doubles, and Siniakova, who will be the couple of the fourth in the world at the Masters.

It does not mean that Spain has arrived in the Bohemian region defeated. The captain, Anabel Medina, has five very capable players in a year that has been very good for national women’s tennis. Because apart from the rise in the classification of Muguruza and Badosa, Sara Sorribes (25 years and 37th), leader of the Red, is at her best, and in the series that put Spain in the Finals, against Japan without both absent, she beat then-number one Naomi Osaka. Also euphoric is Nuria Parrizas, the Granada-born who broke into the top-100 a few weeks ago in her 30s. Both have won their first title in 2021.

They are accompanied by last-minute substitutes, Aliona Bolsava (23), who can play with guarantees both alone and in a duo, and Rebeka Masarova (22), who demonstrated at the US Open that he has a serve with which he can intimidate opponents if necessary. And the icing on the cake is Carla Suárez, who will play, if elected, her last competition in the course of her retirement. At 33 years old, he does not lose his enthusiasm and does not renounce anything: “Winning a competition like this would be very special, a farewell, a finishing touch to so many years of career, although it is not only that.”

Sara Sorrines talks to the rest of the Spanish team.


Sara Sorrines talks to the rest of the Spanish team.

Shared optimism

That optimism is shared by Medina: “We are aiming to fight for each point and tie, to give everything on the track. It is a moment of the season in which the forces are very tight. So any extra effort that is put in adds a lot. All the players are important and are in a state of alert ”. The president of the Federation, Miguel Díaz, also believes in them. “Do not change the ticket, the semifinals are insured,” he told the writer yesterday at the Prague airport.

It will not be easy. Yesterday, the girls trained at a good pace and without problems on track 1, where they will play today against Schmiedlova’s Slovakia (82nd), the weak rival in the group. In the center they will face the United States on Wednesday, one of the great favorites along with Russia, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Germany. Without complex.

Billie Jean King Cup Finals schedule.

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