Fed Cup a favourite for Casey

The 2013 season could hardly have started better for Casey Dellacqua on the doubles court.

The Western Australian paired with compatriot and Fed Cup teammate Ash Barty at Melbourne Park to reach the Australian Open women’s doubles final, before heading to Thailand and claiming her first ever WTA title in the Pattaya doubles event with Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan.

Having now reached two Grand Slam doubles finals (also the French Open in 2008 with Francesca Schiavone), winning the mixed doubles at Roland Garros in 2011 with American Scott Lipsky, and enjoying success this season with one of the youngest (Barty) and oldest (Date-Krumm) players on tour, Dellacqua has shown a true aptitude for the tandem game.

It’s helpful for Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik to know that she has such a credentialled player to draw on for the doubles rubber, should the Australia v Czech Republic tie boil down to a decisive fifth doubles rubber in Ostrava this weekend.

And Dellacqua, who owns an impressive 7-1 career record in doubles when representing Australia in Fed Cup, believes that the green-and-gold are a chance despite taking on the formidable two-time defending champions on unfamiliar turf.

“There’s no reason why we can’t win,” she declared.

“It’s going to be a big challenge against the defending champs but we are ready for it and will give it our best shot and hopefully the outcome is a good one.”

Yet Dellacqua is not content to simply be known as an excellent doubles exponent. The soon-to-turn 28-year-old was a top 40 ranked singles player in 2008, and as Australia’s second-highest ranked player behind world No.9 Sam Stosur, could very well find herself called up for a singles berth when the tie kicks off on Saturday.

Ranked as high as No.77 in September 2012, the Western Australian has since slipped to No.126, partly the result of a foot injury that sidelined her at the end of last season and affected her preparation for the Australian summer. She lost her opening round matches in Sydney and Melbourne and later in Pattaya, but feels she’s not far away from a breakthrough on the singles court.

“I’m feeling great and my body is healthy. I know that I’m hitting the ball well and believe I’m playing really good tennis and looking forward to doing whatever I can for the team,” she said.

“At this stage of my career I don’t want to just be a doubles player – I still have a lot to achieve in singles and I know that the success I’ve enjoyed in doubles will translate into my singles very soon.”

Even if that doesn’t happen in Ostrava, Dellacqua will no doubt enjoy the experience regardless.

A player who loves representing her country, Dellacqua relishes Fed Cup weeks on the tennis calendar, which give her the chance to be around her friends and support her teammates – a rare opportunity in a sport that is primarily individual.

The addition of new captain Alicia Molik and team debutante Barty to the fold have all added to the experience for Dellacqua this week in the Czech Republic.

“It’s exciting having a fresh start with Alicia. I respect Alicia a lot as a player, she achieved a lot in her career and as a friend she’s awesome. It’s really great to have her as our new captain,” she said.

“These Fed Cup weeks are all about doing what’s best for the team. I’m very social, I like having people around, love having teammates by my side. It’s a really different feeling on court knowing you have that support from all the girls.

“Everyone it getting along really well and we are all very supportive of each other and I’m sure that will translate into our matches on the weekend.”

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