Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula Absent from Team USA at Billie Jean King Cup Finals
Despite Their Absence, Team USA Remains Strong with a New Lineup
Seville, Spain – The highly anticipated Billie Jean King Cup Finals are set to begin on Tuesday, but two notable names will be missing from Team USA. Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula, both hailing from Palm Beach County, have opted out of the tournament. However, their absence may not hinder the team’s chances of success.
Team USA, led by captain Kathy Rinaldi in her final competition, boasts a mostly changed lineup from their previous victory over Austria in April. The team dominated with a 4-0 win at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, thanks in large part to Gauff and Pegula’s stellar performances on their home turf.
The new quintet representing the red, white, and blue features two past Grand Slam champions and a Grand Slam finalist. Sloane Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, Sofia Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open titlist, Danielle Collins, the 2022 Aussie Open finalist, Taylor Townsend, and rookie Peyton Stearns will be carrying the hopes of the nation in this 12-country tournament, which concludes this weekend.
The Americans will have to wait until Thursday to make their debut in the tournament. They will face defending-champion Switzerland, followed by a match against the Czech Republic on Friday in round-robin play. Tennis enthusiasts can catch all the action on the Tennis Channel.
Gauff and Pegula made the decision to skip the Billie Jean King Cup Finals as they were expected to be top contenders in the WTA season-ending championships held in Cancun last week. Both players reached the semifinals, with Gauff falling to Pegula in a thrilling match. Pegula, currently ranked fifth in the world, suffered a defeat in the final against Poland’s Iga Swiatek, with a score of 6-1, 6-0.
Last year, Gauff faced exhaustion after participating in the WTA championships in Dallas and immediately traveling to Glasgow, Scotland. This year, she has chosen to prioritize rest and recovery.
“You never know who is going to come out and play and show up,” said Stephens. “I think that’s what makes the U.S. so good and so strong at every single tie is because we always have an A, B, C, D, E team that can always go out and kick anyone’s ass.”
As Rinaldi bids farewell to her role as captain, emotions ran high during Monday’s press conference. Hall-of-Famer Lindsay Davenport will take over as captain in 2024. The U.S. team is determined to secure their record 19th championship, and the absence of Gauff and Pegula did not dominate the discussion during the presser.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula no-shows for Team USA at Billie Jean King Cup Finals