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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Former world No. 1 and Olympic gold-medal champion Lindsay Davenport is the new U.S. Billie Jean King Cup captain.

Photo credit: Julian Finney/Getty

Representing the United States brought out the best in Lindsay Davenport.

Now, Davenport will lead the American advance as new U.S. Billie Jean King Cup captain.

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A three-time Billie Jean King Cup champion as a player, Davenport will become the team’s 20th captain following the 2023 Finals, which will be captained by her friend Kathy Rinaldi.

“Playing Billie Jean King Cup was always something that was a huge priority and a huge highlight for me during my career. I always felt a tremendous amount of pride representing my country, and I'm excited to do it now in a different role,” Davenport said. “Joining a prestigious list of U.S. captains is an incredible honor, 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.”

Former world No. 1 Davenport defeated Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario to capture the Olympic gold medal for the United States at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Games. Davenport later got a tattoo of the Olympic rings to commemorate her golden run.

A powerful baseliner, Davenport played some of her most dynamic tennis for the USA in Fed Cup, which has been rebranded Billie Jean King Cup in honor of the Hall of Famer. 

Davenport was one of the most successful U.S. Billie Jean King Cup players in history, helping to lead the Americans to titles in 1996, 1999 and 2000. Davenport played in 20 ties over a record 11 years, posting a tremendous 26-3 singles record and 7-0 mark in doubles. Her 26 singles victories are tied with Billie Jean King for second all-time for the U.S., behind leader Chris Evert, and her 33 total wins rank fourth, behind Evert, King and Rosie Casals. 

In a sense, Davenport's captaincy is a passing of the American championship torch. Davenport played for King when she captained the U.S. team.

Davenport was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2014 after a career that saw her win three Grand Slam singles and doubles titles, along with the 1996 Olympic Gold Medal in singles. 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.

The 47-year-old Davenport joined Chrissie Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams as one of only five women in history to hold the year-end world No. 1 ranking at least four times.

Since retiring in 2010, Davenport has worked as a commentator and as a coach, notably of American Madison Keys. As captain, Davenport will have a year-round role with USTA Player Development, traveling to support American players and serving as a mentor for American pros and juniors.

“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 of the Board and President, USTA. “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.”

Current captain Kathy Rinaldi, who will continue on as USTA Player Development’s Head of Women’s Tennis after stepping down from the captaincy, will lead the U.S. in the upcoming Billie Jean King Cup Finals November 7-12 in Seville, Spain.

The Finals will feature 12 nations competing in four round-robin groups of three, with the group winners qualifying for the knockout semifinals. The U.S. was drawn into Group A with Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

“I look forward to watching and supporting the U.S. team in the Finals later this year,” Davenport said. “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.”


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