Casey Dellacqua says world No.1 Ash Barty will be coming to Perth with on thing on her mind – winning the Fed Cup for Australia.
Barty was last night crowned the WTA Finals champion after a 6-4 6-3 victory over Elina Svitolina in Shenzhen, a result that earned the Queenslander a more than $6 million payday.
But with Barty set to back up in Perth in the Fed Cup Final against France this weekend, her long time doubles partner Dellacqua expects her mind will be on the job at hand.
“Ash has had a phenomenal year but she’s going to head to Fed Cup with one thing in mind and that’s winning the Fed Cup,” Dellacqua told emageogroup.com. “What she is achieving at the moment, what’s she’s done in Shenzhen and finishing world No.1, you can’t get much better than that so she is going to come Fed Cup on a real high. I know she loves being part of the team and obviously being the finals, it’s not much better when it comes to Fed Cup so she’ll be pumped and ready to go.”
And while Dellacqua believes Barty gives the Australians the edge, she warned that anything could happen in Fed Cup action.
Barty will be joined by Ajla Tomljanovic, Sam Stosur, Astra Sharma and Priscilla Hon.
The French team is led by Kristina Mladenovic, with Caroline Garcia, Alize Cornet, Fiona Ferro and Pauline Parmentier.
Mladenovic and Cornet were both Hopman Cup champions at RAC Arena in recent years.
“When you look at Fed Cup, obviously you look at the team in regards to players and individual rankings, but at the same time, you also look at them in regards to how successful they’ve been as a team and a nation,” Dellacqua said. “I think that really comes into it a lot when you’re coming into a Fed Cup.
“The French have got great individuals but they are a very strong nation. In a very patriotic way they love playing for their country and all their top players enjoy playing.
“It’s the same in Australia, but obviously we have the No.1 player in the world with Ash, so that’s no doubt got to put us in a good position. Then we have Sam Stosur, who is a quality singles players but also at the moment doing really well in doubles and has been a great doubles player. I think Australia in regards to players probably have the stronger team, but when you put it all together you just never know at Fed Cup.
“The venue is amazing and I think most of the girls will be quite familiar with it. It is going to be one of those things where it will just be a great atmosphere and both countries will quite at home. Ash really loves playing at home in Australia and we saw that at the Australian Open. So let’s hope that the crowd really get behind Australia and get them through too. The Perth crowd love their tennis so I think they are going to be pumped and ready to go to cheer the girls on.”
Dellacqua is one of a raft of former Fed Cup stars who will be in town for the Final.
The West Australian will play a role with a junior camp in conjunction with the event, before commentary duties for Broadcasters Channel 9 over the weekend.
Dellacqua said the past players were hugely invested in the result, with the Australians searching for their first victory in 45 years.
“All the former Fed Cup players have been invited to attend,” Dellacqua said. “It’s just going to be a great atmosphere. There are so many past players, present players, future players that will have their eyes on this final and cheering for Australia.
“It’s hard to put into words what it will mean because it means so much. It’s just going to mean so much to the players, to the captain Alicia (Molik), to everyone who ever played Fed Cup before them that have taken to the court to represent Australia. Most of all, I think, for the general public in Australia. If the Fed Cup team gets up and gets a win, that’s massive. It’s the strongest and best women’s competition there is in tennis and I think that would mean a lot to a lot people if they win.”