Ostrava, Czech Republic, 6 February 2013 | Tennis Australia

The Australian Fed Cup team has gathered in the industrial town of Ostrava this week ahead of its Fed Cup World Group first round tie against the Czech Republic, after approximately 30 hours of travel on planes, trains and automobiles.

Captain Alicia Molik, Jarmila Gajdosova and teenage Fed Cup debutante Ashleigh Barty arrived in Munich last week, taking advantage of Tennis Australia’s European base to acclimatise to the cold, wintry conditions. On Monday they flew from Munich to Prague and then spent three hours on the train to Ostrava, the third largest city in the Czech Republic and situated close to the Polish border.

Sam Stosur, Fed Cup coach Nicole Bradtke, Tennis Australia’s head of professional tennis Todd Woodbridge and the support team flew into Prague from Sydney and Melbourne via London and loaded a mountain of bags onto the next  train.

Casey Dellacqua, who won her first ever WTA title in Pattaya, Thailand on the weekend thanks to victory in the doubles event with veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm, was the last to join the team, arriving on Tuesday morning.

At an early dinner at the team’s hotel on Monday night, Alicia welcomed the team and emphasised the importance of representing Australia while outlining the plans for the week, including practice, treatment and recovery sessions, gym and the all-important team dinners.

Then came practice. Day one saw an intense session between Sam, Jarka and Ash, with Alicia, Nic and Todd variously joining in. The court has been laid at Ostrava’s Cez Arena over an ice rink normally home to the HC Vítkovice Steel, Ostrava’s ice hockey team. The team members at one stage ducked their heads out to watch the Aussie girls practising.

Following practice, it was time for lunch, with baguettes and coffee at a glamorous new shopping centre in Ostrava. Coincidentally, the shopping centre was playing host to the magnificent Fed and Davis Cup trophies, both events of which the Czechs are defending champions. The Aussie girls enjoyed posing with them for lots of pictures.

Dinner followed at a local Italian restaurants, at which the team toasted Casey’s title success.

It would be an early night for the Aussies ahead of another big day of practice and pre-match press conferences on Wednesday.