2023 BJK Cup Finals: Spotlight on France

05/10/2023 17:04

Having missed out on a place in the Finals last year, France are 'on a mission' in 2023 as they target a fourth Billie Jean King Cup title

By Kevin Palmer
2023 BJK Cup Finals: Spotlight on France


Current ranking: 4
First appearances in BJK Cup: 1963
Years played: 60
BJK Cup record: 158 (96 wins, 62 losses)
Most ties played: Natalie Tauziat (40)
Best result: Winners in 1997, 2003, 2019


France boast a proud record in this competition and have fond memories of their most recent success in the Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge in 2019.
A thrilling final against Australia in Perth saw France overcome a passionate home crowd to win a decisive double match thanks to Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic.
Their 2003 win against USA in the Final was notable for some memorable performances from Amelie Mauresmo in a tie played in Moscow. 
Their first win in this competition came in 1987, as Mary Pierce led the way with some sparkling wins as they won away from home once again against the Netherlands.

MEET THE CAPTAIN - Julien Benneteau

Benneteau was a fine player who reached a career-high of 25 in the ATP rankings and won the French Open doubles title with partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
He was appointed as France's Billie Jean King Cup captain in 2018 and led his side to success in the competition in his first year at the helm.
Now Benneteau is aiming for a repeat success in Seville, with France coming through a tough test against a spirited Great Britain side in the Qualifiers last April.
"I told the team at the beginning of the year and the beginning of the week that the focus is to qualify again for the Finals. We have to be there," said Benneteau. "I think we deserve to be there. "We are in an open group. I think everybody can qualify. We hope that it will be us. We will see in November. 
"I hope that we will have the strongest team possible to be able to qualify."


France's failure to qualify for last year's Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge Finals was a major inspiration behind their success in the Qualifiers against Great Britain in April, according to Alize Cornet.
"We are really on a mission this year," she confirmed. "We were really motivated to get to the Finals because we missed it last year very much. I think we're not going to let go of a single point, we're going to try to be very intense from start to finish.
"It's definitely very special for me [to play for France]. I've always been ready to answer the call for the French team. I've played many, many ties over the years, I had some amazing emotions, amazing memories, and some painful ones, let's say, but definitely, the victory in 2019 is the top memory of all. 
"I really want to have this emotion again, because nothing can beat that. When you win a big title as a team it's so different from what we have during the year. It's such a solitary world [playing on tour], so when we can win as a team it makes it very special."


France will meet Italy for a 13th time when the two nations compete at the Bille Jean King Cup Finals in Seville, with the side that will be captained by Julien Benneteau leading this head-to-head 8-4.
The most recent meeting came last year, when Italy ended France's hopes in the Qualifiers, with the most recent French win against Italy coming in 2016.
France hold a 4-3 lead over Germany in their previous meetings, with the most recent French win coming in a World Group Play-Off in 2010 that was decided by a decisive doubles match. 


Caroline Garcia captured the biggest title of her career when she won the WTA Finals last November, capping the best year of her career in fine fashion. 
Her best Grand Slam result in 2023 came with a quarter-final appearance at the Australian Open and she won both her singles matches as France beat Great Britain in the Billie Jean King qualifiers in April. 
Alize Cornet is also set to play a key role for France in Seville, with this experienced performer showing good form in recent weeks as she reached the semi-finals of an event in Bari, Italy.