Rinaldi to step down as US captain at end of year10/07/2023 17:09
Kathy Rinaldi has announced that the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge Finals will be her last event as USA captain
By Ed Pearson
Kathy Rinaldi has announced that the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge Finals will be her last event as USA captain.
Rinaldi, who took over as USA skipper in 2016, will remain in her position as USTA Player Development's Head of Women's Tennis and will continue to identify and develop current and future generations of American women's champions.
The US team has enjoyed a successful time in the women's World Cup of tennis under Rinaldi's reign.
After taking over in December 2016, Rinaldi led her team to a 32nd title in her first full season in charge, defeating Belarus 3-2 in an exciting final in 2017 that went to a decisive doubles match.
She has also seen her side reach the final in 2018, falling to Czechia 3-0, and USA reached the semi-finals of the first-ever Billie Jean King Cup Finals in 2021.
This year, USA will be hoping to send off their captain in style. The Americans cruised to victory against Austria in the Qualifiers in April but were then handed the toughest possible group for this year's Finals.
Rinaldi will need all of her tactical nous if she is to negotiate Switzerland and Czechia en route to the knockout stages of the competition in Seville.
Reflecting on her time in charge, Rinaldi said: “Having the distinct role of being named captain of the US Billie Jean King Cup team was one of the greatest honours of my life.
"It has been an incredible ride for six-plus years. I certainly hope I made Billie Jean [King] proud. I have so much love and admiration for her and for her iconic impact on women in sports, and for the impact she and Ilana [Kloss] continue to have on my life.
"First and foremost, I want to personally thank each and every American player for always saying yes when they got my call to play, and raising their hand to represent America. They represented the USA with heart and class. We always left it all on the court while having a lot of fun, too.
"Thank you, players, for the opportunity to be your captain, and sharing the bench with you. I want each and every American player to know how much they have impacted my life in such a positive way. I will treasure each of you and the memories we made together forever.
"I also want to say thank you to all the fans for your support of our team! We felt your love, and it sure was an honour to battle in front of you, knowing that you were always behind us no matter what. We heard you!
"Thank you to my incredible USTA team and family, the coaches, the Performance Team and the staff for your support, love and friendships, and needless to say your dedication and tireless hard work. You inspire me each and every day.
"Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank my devoted husband and son for their continued love and support of me, my career and my passion for tennis. I couldn’t do this without you.
"Even though I’m stepping down as captain, I’m extremely excited to continue dedicating my time and effort toward supporting our American players as the USTA’s Head of Women’s Tennis. I’m also excited to see what’s next in my journey to impact this most amazing sport on a broader scale. Let’s go, USA!”