Medina Garrigues predicts a "spectacular team atmosphere"05/04/2022 16:00
Spanish Billie Jean King Cup captain Anabel Medina Garrigues is confident team spirit will make a big difference in her side's quest for a sixth title
When Anabel Medina Garrigues made her debut in the Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas in 2003, Spain had already won five trophies. Nineteen years later and her team is still chasing an elusive sixth title, but with two players ranked inside the Top 10, they must be one of the favourites to get their hands on the cup this year.
Standing in their way of a place in the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals will be Netherlands. The two teams go head-to-head in a Qualifier tie in ’s-Hertogenbosch on 15-16 April.
And even without Garbine Muguruza, who was forced to pull out with a shoulder injury, Spain look like a difficult proposition for any side. They will be led by world No. 3 Paula Badosa, who is ready to make her BJK Cup debut, alongside Sara Sorribes, Nuria Parrizas, Rebeka Masarova and Muguruza’s replacement, Aliona Bolsova.
“The news of Garbine made me very sad,” said Medina Garrigues. “The reality is that her shoulder problems have been lingering for quite some time. We wish her a speedy recovery."
With Spain’s strength in depth, the captain sees winning qualities in all of her players.
“Each one of them contributes,” she explained. “Paula Badosa is a player who has exploded in the last 16 months and is playing at a very high level. She will be in the team for the first time and she brings a very good energy with her.
“Nuria Parrizas showed a great level in Prague and she loved playing in the team environment. Rebeka Masarova was also in Prague and she can adapt very well to the conditions that we are going to find in the Netherlands.
“Sara Sorribes is a veteran of the team. Last year, she took a very good leap in level and has a lot of experience in the Billie Jean King Cup."
Medina Garrigues believes it is her players’ team spirit that will help deliver results.
“You transmit it to the team,” she said. “To feel the colours when you play for the team and that responsibility motivates you. Sara has always shown great availability to represent Spain. For her it is an important competition. She has never hidden, she has always shown her face, in important moments she has known how to face that position of leader. I am very grateful and proud that she is in the team.”
For Medina Garrigues, she hopes her own experience helps her to better manage the team that she took over in 2018.
She added: “As captain I know what the players feel, what they like, what they don't, and that helps me a lot when managing a group of players with their character and their personality; you have to know how to adapt to all of them. The fact that I have been a player helps me a lot to manage them in the best way.”
And despite making sure both she and her team are prepared ahead of time, nothing can take away from the excitement that Spain’s captain feels come match day.
“The weeks of competition, the atmosphere in the team is spectacular,” she said. “They work together. Weekend butterflies are always good. I am very grateful to all the players who have always made things very easy for me.”
The 39-year-old will be hoping her players don’t cause her too much stress on the sidelines as their quest for a sixth title continues.