Brisbane, 10 April 2024 | Dan Imhoff

Sam Stosur can draw on the experience of having her peer, and friend, shift from Billie Jean King Cup teammate to guiding the ship after Alicia Molik’s step up to the captain’s role 11 years ago.

Following Molik’s retirement as team boss last year and former world No.4 Stosur’s decision to hang up her racquets on tour, the shoe is now firmly on the other foot.

Stosur navigates the switch from teammate to Australian captain for the first time in a qualifying tie fittingly hosted in her home city of Brisbane this week, and the decision on who takes the court against Mexico rests firmly on her shoulders.

> READ: Hunter’s Billie Jean King Cup homecoming worth the wait

“I think when I first got this role that was something that I thought about, ‘okay, how does this dynamic change now?’ As much as I’d practised with a lot of the girls, and obviously you see each other out on tour, you’re not looking at every single thing, the nitty-gritty trying to work out and help them in a different way,” Stosur said.

“So yeah, I guess the dynamic shifts a little bit, but I think at the end of the day first and foremost they know that I’ve got their back and we’re friends, and whatever that means to them, move forward and help them.

“There hasn’t been any really tough conversations yet so that’s good, but when the time comes I think we’ve all got enough respect for each other and hope that we can help them in any way. It is a little bit different to playing doubles with some of the players to now trying to help them in a different way.”

Stosur finished her playing career with a 39-21 record in the Billie Jean King Cup and was pivotal to Australia reaching the final in 2019 and 2022.

The Queenslander cited being part of Australia’s narrow defeat to France at Perth in the 2019 final – the last time home-and-away finals were played in the team competition – as one of the most heartbreaking days of her career.

> READ: Rodionova relishes return to Billie Jean King Cup team

She knows how challenging that path to team success is and the work ahead of her charges Storm Hunter, Daria Saville, Arina Rodionova, Ellen Perez and Taylah Preston just to return to the finals fold in November.

A decision on who will be nominated for the five rubbers will be announced on Thursday morning.

“It’s a bit of everything: a) how are you feeling physically, mentally, are you ready to go? Has training been good, are you satisfied with how the player feels and then what we all think is being done, maybe a little bit about match-ups,” Stosur said.

“To be honest there’s bits and pieces about the Mexican team we know a lot about, but I’m kind of more focused on what our players can bring to the court each day. I think yeah we’ve got a good chance.”

The two-day Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge Qualifier tie, which sees Australia take on Mexico, begins on Friday 12 April.

Tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster, with adult prices starting at $20, concessions from $16, kids from $5 and family passes (two adults and two children) starting at $45.

> BUY NOW: Billie Jean King Cup tickets

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