Brisbane QLD, Australia, 11 April 2016 |

Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik was in Charleston last week at the Volvo Car Open, where Australian Fed Cup team members Daria Gavrilova, Sam Stosur and Casey Dellacqua were competing.

The former world No.8, who used the opportunity to scout American opposition as well as serve as a temporary coach of Gavrilova, chatted to via phone from South Carolina.

On how the green clay of Charleston compares with the red clay of Brisbane:

“We’ll be playing on Italian clay at Brisbane – obviously it’s indoors as well. Dasha and Sam, as well as Casey, are playing an outdoor event here (in Charleston) but (there are) not too many differences. It’s very, very similar. The ball really does jump up here, particularly when the courts get nice and dry but it’s great to see that the team adapts so well and so quickly to the clay. It’s their first event on the surface, which is why next week is great as well. They can transition without it being a drastic change, which only I think will do wonders for their game in terms of progressing. And it’s a really challenging thing when you have to adapt from clay to hard and back to clay. You only get so far with your progress, so I think it will be fantastic for them to get more training, more time on the surface before the Fed Cup weekend.”

On the US Fed Cup team:

“It’s a line up which we expected. We were hoping that some of the Williams family would be joining us in Brisbane but they’re not. But they have options between Keys, McHale, Mattek-Sands and Vandeweghe, particularly Bethanie is pretty much a star on the doubles court but she’s still a singles option. I’ve had the chance to watch Madison Keys here, who lost today. But they are dangerous players – particularly CoCo Vandeweghe, who some of our team have had difficulties with in the past. But they’re an incredibly strong team. If we win this one it will be a great victory for us.”

On contesting the tie in Brisbane:

“We’re fortunate to be playing in Brisbane again. We’ve had incredible support there. And I think it’s an amazing opportunity to watch incredibly high-level women’s tennis. They’re fantastic role models of the sport. A lot of people think that tennis is only played in January in Australia so the fact that we can bring it back and bring it back to the forefront of many people’s minds, we hope a lot of people turn out and enjoy it. It will be spectacular weather and sort of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch tennis in Pat Rafter Arena on clay. I think it will be fantastic spectating.”

On whether Australia can challenge for the Fed Cup trophy:

To be honest with you, that has been the feeling for the last few years. I’ve truly believed that we have been good enough over the last few years to win the Fed Cup and certainly having Dasha absolutely bolsters our chances, I think, of having more success. We can’t forget too that Ash Barty is not too far away from making probably her return into this team so that’s a really exciting prospect for us well, because I think once she has a few more matches under her belt and having her back, hopefully next year, she adds a lot more choice as well – in singles and then having her back as a doubles option. It’s exciting for us next year if we do make the World Group.”