2023 BJK Cup Finals: Spotlight on Germany

06/10/2023 17:48

Germany, back in the Billie Jean King Cup Finals after failing to qualify last year, are a 'dangerous team' seeking a deep run at this year's event in Seville

By Kevin Palmer
2023 BJK Cup Finals: Spotlight on Germany


Current ranking: 10
First appearances in BJK Cup: 1963
Years played: 58
BJK Cup record: 156 (98 wins, 58 losses)
Most ties played: Helga Masthoff (33)
Best result: Winners in 1987, 1992


Steffi Graf was at the peak of her powers as she helped Germany to their two wins in this competition in 1987 and 1992.
Graf's 6-2 6-1 defeat of USA's Chris Evert in the 1987 Final in Vancouver was a changing of the guard moment in the women's game, with Graf teaming up with Claudia Kohde-Kilsch to beat Evert and Pam Shriver in the decisive doubles match.
Graf then took centre stage five years later as Germany beat Spain in the final played in Frankfurt, as she beat Arantxa Sanchez Vicario to seal victory for her nation once again.
Germany has also been runners-up on five occasions, with the most recent coming in 2014, when they lost to Czechia in the final.

MEET THE CAPTAIN - Rainer Schuttler

Schuttler won four titles on the ATP Tour in a playing career that saw him reach the 2003 Australian Open final [losing to Andre Agassi] and the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2008 [losing to Rafael Nadal].
His contribution to German tennis continued when he was named Billie Jean King Cup captain in 2020, succeeding Jens Gerlach.
He was always a fighter on the court during his playing career and now Schuttler is talking up Germany's hopes of success in the Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge Finals in Seville.
"We are in the wrong sport if we didn't consider ourselves contenders," he said. "We will go to the Finals with goals, and we dream, which is why we play this sport. We will go there to win every tie. But I don't look that far ahead, I just want to win my next tie.
"It is certainly nice to be in the Finals again. We are a dangerous team. They win together, lose together and fight together.
"We recently proved against Croatia and Brazil that we are a great team and we will show that again in Seville in November. Our goal is, of course, to win and we will do everything to achieve it."

WHAT THE PLAYERS SAY - Anna-Lena Friedsam

After losing her opening singles match in a tie played in Frankfurt, Anna-Lena Friedsam fought back in thrilling fashion as she inspired Germany to a win against Brazil in April's Qualifiers. 
Her emphatic 6-0 6-1 victory against Laura Pigossi sealed the win for Germany, in a tie that also featured singles victories for Tatjana Maria and Jule Niemeier, who pulled off an impressive win over world No. 14 Beatrix Haddad Maia.
"It was really a golden day for me – I played unbelievably well," said Friedsam. "Before Jule played, I didn't know whether I was going to play for 2-2 or 3-1 and I was just so happy that she won so I could play a little more relaxed. I am super happy with my performance.
"It all came together. The energy of the team gave me energy on the court and pumped me up more. We don't have this often, so I really tried to enjoy it.
"From the first point to the last, I kept saying, 'keep pushing, keep playing your best tennis' and it worked. I played my best tennis."


Germany has an impressive record in their previous matches with Italy, winning five and not losing against them since a World Group match in 1965.
Their most recent meeting with Italy came in 2000, as Anke Huber was the inspiration for a 2-1 win in a tie played in Bari.
Their record against France is not so convincing, with Germany trailing 4-3 in this battle ahead of the renewal of rivalries in Seville.
The most recent meeting between these two nations came a decade ago, as Germany sealed a 3-1 away win in a World Cup II meeting, with Julia Goerges winning the tie in her match against Pauline Parmentier.


Tatjana Maria will have a big role to play for Germany in Seville and she showed some good form in China in September by reaching the quarter-finals of the tournament in Guangzhou.
Maria has a 12-7 winning record in the Billie Jean King Cup and won a tight match against Brazil's Laura Pigossi in the Qualifiers in April.
Anna-Lena Friedsam was a star turn for captain Schuttler in that tie against Brazil and she enjoyed her best run of form in 2023 at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz tournament in February, reaching the quarter-finals. 
Jule Niemeier also won her singles match in the tie against Brazil and she made the quarter-finals of an ITF World Tennis Tour 100K event in Tokyo in September, with her best win of 2023 coming as she beat Tunisia's Ons Jabeur in a tournament in Germany in June.