Arina Rodionova.
Arina Rodionova's fine form has been rewarded with a recall to the national team squad. Image by Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS
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Rodionova makes Australia’s Billie Jean King Cup team

Darren Walton March 13, 2024

New Billie Jean King Cup captain Sam Stosur has wasted no time stamping her mark, recalling veteran Arina Rodionova for Australia’s qualifier against Mexico this month.

The country’s top-ranked female player, Rodionova was controversially overlooked for a wildcard into the Australian Open in January before accusing Tennis Australia of having a personal vendetta against her.

But Stosur has wiped the slate clean, picking the 34-year-old alongside summer star Storm Hunter, team mainstay Daria Saville, doubles ace Ellen Perez and teenage talent Taylah Preston for the April 12-13 tie in Brisbane.

“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,” Stosur said ahead of her first tie as captain.

“I’m also delighted to name Taylah as a fully-fledged member of the team – it’s only two years ago that she was our ‘orange girl’.

“She’s still only 18, has had some terrific results recently and I’m excited for her to have this opportunity to represent her country at the highest level.”

Taylah Preston.
 Taylah Preston hits a backhand during her Australian Open campaign in January. Image by James Ross/AAP PHOTOS 

For Rodionova, this marks her first Billie Jean King Cup appearance since 2016.

“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, who became the oldest woman to crack the world’s top 100 for the first time last month when she touched a career-high singles ranking of No.97.

“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.”

Australia need to beat Mexico to earn a spot in the 12-nation finals, which will be played in Spain in November.

Australia bowed out in the 12-team finals stage last year after making the title match in 2022.