2023 BJK Cup Finals: Spotlight on Italy

06/10/2023 18:18

One thing you can be sure of after their three humbling defeats during last year's Finals, Tathiana Garbin's Italian team will show up in Seville with a bucketload of fight

By Kevin Palmer
2023 BJK Cup Finals: Spotlight on Italy


Current ranking: 8
First appearances in BJK Cup: 1963
Years played: 59
BJK Cup record: 145 (81 wins, 64 losses)
Most ties played: Sandra Cecchini (25)
Best result: Winners in 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013


Italy enjoyed one of the finest moments in their tennis history when they beat Russia to win this competition in 2013, with Sara Errani etching her name into the record books as the player who hit the shot that secured glory.
This followed a run of success from 2006, as Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone were the inspiration behind victories in thrilling Finals that were celebrated in raucous fashion by tennis fans in Italy.  

MEET THE CAPTAIN - Tathiana Garbin

Garbin reached a career-high of No. 22 in the WTA rankings and claimed her only Tour level title at the Budapest Grand Prix in April 2000.
She beat world No. 1 and defending champion Justine Henin in the second round of the 2004 French Open and has extended her career in tennis after being appointed a Italy's Billie Jean King Cup captain in 2016.
After guiding Italy to the Finals in Glasgow last year, Garbin is eager to make progress in this year's finale in Seville.
"It means a lot to qualify for the Billie Jean King Cup Finals again," she said. "My players give 100 per cent in national team colours. They have big hearts and big passion.
"Now we look forward to the Finals. I am quite happy we avoided Switzerland among the teams in the first bracket, USA and Poland in the third. 
"As a captain, I have a positive feeling, I know how much our girls are able to value themselves when they wear this jersey. The attachment to the jersey, to the nation, will take us far. We will be hard to beat."

WHAT THE PLAYERS SAY - Elisabetta Cocciaretto

With Camila Giorgi suffering with a knee problem during for the tie against Slovakia in the Qualifiers last April, captain Tathiana Garbin needed her less experienced performances to step forward on a frantic second day in Bratislava.
Italy had a commanding 2-0 lead from the opening day of action as Giorgi and Martina Trevisan won their singles matches, but the Slovakian side stormed back on day two and it needed a strong performance from Elisabetta Cocciaretto and Trevisan in the doubles to seal a 3-2 win.
"Camila not playing changed everything," reflected Cocciaretto on the second day of the tie against Slovakia.
"In singles, I didn't get the win, but I tried to do better in doubles and do the things which I didn't do in singles. 
"In the break between singles and doubles, I went to the hotel and changed my skirt because I didn't like the skirt I had. I then came back, had a coffee, re-set and went. I fought until the end and we are so happy and proud to be in the Finals."


Italy have shared some epic battles with France across the decades in this competition, with the most recent Italian win in this clash coming in a 2022 Qualifier.
Overall, France lead this head-to-head 8-4, with wins for Italy in 2006 and 2009 against their European rivals part of their story as they won the Bille Jean King Cup.
Italy also have a losing record against Germany, winning just one of their six meetings back in 1965.


Elisabetta Cocciaretto confirmed she was in good form with a victory on clay at the Ladies Open Lausanne in July, but injuries have hampered her progress since that success. 
Jasmine Paolini has enjoyed a consistent year that included an impressive run to the quarter-finals of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati in August, where she was beaten by eventual champion Coco Gauff. She also won a WTA125 title in Florence, Italy, in May. 
Martina Trevisan reached the quarter-finals of the WTA1000 event in Mexico in September and was also a quarter-finalist at the Miami Open in March.