Preview: Australia v Mexico

03/04/2024 09:45

Eight Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge Qualifiers take place from 12-13 April. The winners will seal a place at November's season-ending Finals in Seville alongside defending champions Canada, 2023 runners-up Italy, hosts Spain and wild card recipients Czechia. Here is a preview of the Australia v Mexico tie

By Kevin Palmer
Preview: Australia v Mexico
Sam Stosur will lead Australia for the first time as captain after succeeding Alicia Molik, with the Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane providing the stage for their Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge Qualifier against Mexico.
This will be Australia's first tie on home soil since 2019, with the nation ranked No. 2 in the Billie Jean King Cup Rankings and aiming to reach the Finals for a fourth successive year.
Mexico are ranked No. 19 and will be aiming to reach the Finals for the first time.


Australia: Arina Rodionova, Daria Saville, Storm Hunter, Taylah Preston, Ellen Perez
Mexico: Fernanda Contreras, Marcela Zacarias, Fernanda Navarro, Giuliana Olmos



These two nations have only clashed once before in this competition, with Australia running out 3-0 winners in a match staged in Zurich, Switzerland in July 1983.
Australia's Wendy Turnbull won a tight singles match against Mexico's Heliane Steden to pave the way to a victory.



After finishing as runners-up in the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup, Australia qualified for the Finals in Seville last year and were part of a highly competitive Group B.
A 2-1 defeat in their opening tie against Slovenia was backed up by a 2-1 victory against Kazakstan, with Australia missing out on a place in the semi-finals despite some stirring performances by Storm Hunter in both singles and doubles matches.
After losing a tie against Spain in last April's Qualifiers, Mexico captain Agustin Moreno oversaw a thrilling win against Austria in Schwechat last November to secure a place in this year's Qualifiers. 
Fernanda Contreras was the star for Mexico as she won both of her singles matches and then played a key role in a final set tie-break win, as she teamed up with Giuliana Olmos to secure the victory.


Sam Stosur takes the helm as Australia's captain and she is relishing the challenge of continuing the work of Alicia Molik, who led the team for 10 years and guided them to finals in 2019 and 2022.
"Alicia did an amazing job in this role, with her leadership with the players," said Stosur. "Everyone always wants to be part of the team; there's a great team culture.
"No doubt I'll probably call Alicia several times for a bit of advice here and there, but I'd love to just try and keep the foundations that she's been able to build.
"You knew she fully believed in you on the court. As a player, I always felt that and knew that was important. Certainly, that's one thing I want to try and pass on now in this new role."
Stosur had a 39-21 winning record as a player in the Billie Jean King Cup and her passion for this competition will be a huge asset to Australia as they look to challenge for the title once again.
Mexico will be led by Agustin Moreno, who has been captain of the team since his appointment was confirmed in December 2016. 
A respected coach, he is also overseeing Loyola Marymount University's tennis programme in Los Angeles.


Sam Stosur confirmed she was ready to make bold decisions when she named her first Billie Jean King Cup team and included Australia's top-ranked player Arina Rodionova.
After missing out on a wild card for the Australian Open in January, there were question marks over whether 34-year-old Rodionova would be selected to represent her country, but Stosur had no doubt over the selection and the player is eager to make her mark in Brisbane. 
"It's such an honour to be a part of the Billie Jean King Cup team and represent Australia at our home tie," said Rodionova.
"I am really looking forward to it and will do everything I can on and off the court to help the team get that win."
Stosur was keen to ensure she picked her strongest possible team as Australia look to book their place at the Finals.
"I'm extremely excited to announce Storm, Dasha, Arina, Ellen and Taylah in the team," said Stosur.
"We have experience coming into this tie with Australia's top-ranked singles and doubles players, which I'm sure will put us in a good position to get the win against Mexico."