WASHINGTON, September 28, 2023 (by Michael Dickens)
Lindsay Davenport has been named to succeed Kathy Rinaldi as the next U.S. captain for Billie Jean King Cup. The announcement was made by the U.S. Tennis Association on Wednesday. The International Tennis Hall of Famer will also take on a role in player development for the USTA.
Davenport, who will become the U.S. team’s 20th captain, will take over from Rinaldi following this year’s Billie Jean King Cup Finals, which will take place from Nov. 7-12 in Seville, Spain. Rinaldi became the U.S. team captain in 2016 and led the Americans to the title in 2017. The USTA announced in June that she would step down as captain after this year’s Billie Jean King Cup Finals but remain as the head of its women’s program for player development.
American tennis legend Lindsay Davenport will be the next captain of the 🇺🇸 @BJKCup team.
Let's do this, @LDavenport76!
— USTA (@usta) September 27, 2023
A California native, Davenport won three Grand Slam titles in singles – 1988 US Open, 1999 Wimbledon, 2000 Australian Open – three more in doubles, and reached World No. 1 in both singles and doubles. She won 55 singles and 38 doubles titles in all, spent 98 weeks as the world No. 1 and was the year-end No. 1 in 1998, 2001 and 2004-05.
Davenport also earned a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics and compiled an impressive 26-3 record in singles and 7-0 in doubles in the Billie Jean King Cup while winning titles in 1996, 1999 and 2000 – each with King as captain back when the competition was known as the Fed Cup. Her 26 victories are tied with Billie Jean King for second all-time for the U.S., behind leader Chris Evert, and her 33 total wins ranks fourth, behind Evert, King and Rosie Casals.
“I remember vividly all the Fed Cup ties and the winning and the camaraderie and some of the amazing teams I was able to be a part of,” Davenport told the Associated Press. “And now I’m excited to be able to experience it from a different lens and try and be – well, I will never live up to, but try and be similar to – how Billie was as captain and see what kind of job I can do.”
The moment @LDavenport76 won USA the 1999 #BJKCup along with an unforgettable team which included @MonicaSeles10s, @serenawilliams, @Venuseswilliams & captain @BillieJeanKing 🇺🇸@usta pic.twitter.com/LfuK3axXlL
— Billie Jean King Cup (@BJKCup) September 28, 2023
Davenport retired as a player from the WTA Tour in 2010 and was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2014. In recent years, she’s worked as a coach, including with American Madison Keys, and as a television analyst with Tennis Channel.
“Lindsay has been the embodiment of a champion throughout her career and few players have had as much success playing for their country as she has,” said Brian Hainline, Chairman and President of the USTA, in a statement. “We’re excited to welcome her experience and leadership back to the Billie Jean King Cup team at a time when the present and future of American women’s tennis couldn’t be brighter.”
3x #BJKCup champion Lindsay Davenport will replace Kathy Rinaldi as USA's Captain after this years' Finals in Seville 🤩
— Billie Jean King Cup (@BJKCup) September 27, 2023
Davenport said she always felt a tremendous amount of pride representing the United States, and now is excited to do it in a different role.
“Joining a prestigious list of U.S. captains is an incredible honor,” Davenport said, “and with the group of players that we have now and their great personalities, I really couldn’t ask for a better time to have this position.
“I look forward to watching and supporting the U.S. team in the Finals this year. Kathy has been an amazing role model to not only the players now but also myself, and I look forward to continuing what she started the last seven years. She’s done a remarkable job and I look forward to the U.S. hopefully winning it this year so that when I’m captain, we’re defending champions.”