Home » Team Australia rallies behind injured compatriot Hunter

Team Australia rallies behind injured compatriot Hunter

Daria Saville, Arina Rodionova and Sam Stosur hail teammate Storm Hunter’s support ahead of Day Two of their Billie Jean King Cup Qualifier against Mexico.

Brisbane, 12 April 2024 | Dan Imhoff

Australia’s Billie Jean King Cup team laid down an early marker on Day One of the qualifying tie against Mexico, determined to cement a finals return in honour of injured compatriot Storm Hunter.

Hunter suffered a serious Achilles injury, which threatened to sideline her for most of the season, on the eve of the first day’s play.

Daria Saville and Arina Rodionova admitted they had added incentive to secure the opening two rubbers against underdog opponents Marcela Zacarias and Giuliana Olmos, respectively, following Hunter’s cruel blow.

“Yesterday was a pretty tough day for us [after Hunter’s injury], pretty emotional… We’re giving Storm a lot of love and shout-out to the Mexican team, they got Storm flowers, they’re super nice,” Saville said.

“Yesterday what happened with Storm, it gave me perspective again that now I’m kind of motivated even more because it’s kind of like, oh God, this can happen and this has happened to me.

“Whenever I come back the first tournaments [from injury] I’m, like, super excited and motivated but then you get back to routine and you probably take a few things for granted, so now that it happened to my best friend it’s like you really can’t take anything for granted.”

> READ: Saville, Rodionova lift Australia to 2-0 lead over Mexico

Team captain Sam Stosur said a decision on who would take the court for Australia on the final day’s play in singles and doubles would be finalised once the team had reconvened.

Australia needs to clinch just one more rubber to book the team’s return to the finals in November. Stosur conceded it was highly unlikely Hunter would be back in time should the team advance.

“It’s emotionally very hard at this point in time but credit to her she came out today,” she said. “She still wanted to be there and support her team.

“She’ll do that, put that aside and do what she can now to help us through these couple of days but yeah, I think Dash touched on it out on the court – we’re going to try and rally around her as much as we can. We want her back out here, she deserves to be out here competing and playing and it’s just a horrible thing for her to have to go through.”

> READ: Former Australian players reunite at Billie Jean King Cup in Brisbane

Rodionova, who opened the tie with her first victory for Australia, said she and her teammates appreciated Hunter stayed on to support them, knowing how hard it would have been restricted to the sidelines.

“You don’t want to see anyone get injured, let alone your teammate and on court, the day before the tie,” she said. “It was a lot yesterday but we tried really hard to, kind of, not move past it but play a little bit for her today and tomorrow.

“We asked her yesterday at dinner – because she needs to get surgery – to stay for these two days to support us because we need her. Doesn’t matter if it’s on the court, off the court… She’s part of the team and there’s five people not four.

“We want her to be there. If we win, we all win. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing or you’re not playing… It’s all a team effort this week.”

The two-day Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge Qualifier tie, which sees Australia take on Mexico, is on Friday 12 April and Saturday 13 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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