Net gain: Rodionova talks down Tennis Australia blast

Oliver Caffrey |

Arina Rodionova served a volley of criticism at Tennis Australia in January.
Arina Rodionova served a volley of criticism at Tennis Australia in January.

On her return to the Billie Jean King Cup squad, Arina Rodionova has attempted to move on from her brutal criticism of Tennis Australia.

The 34-year-old was controversially overlooked for a wildcard spot at January’s Australian Open despite being the country’s top-ranked women’s player.

Rodionova claimed she was “not liked”, saying TA would have been “pleased” she exited at the qualifying stage of her home grand slam.

But ahead of Australia’s Billie Jean King Cup tie against Mexico in Brisbane this weekend, the Russian-born player tried to downplay her comments from three months ago.

Australia's Billie Jean King Cup captain Sam Stosur.
Australia’s Billie Jean King Cup captain Sam Stosur (r) was “always in my corner”, Rodionova says. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

“It’s two very different things,” Rodionova said on Tuesday of representing Australia and her criticism of TA.

“At the end, I didn’t qualify (for the Australian Open) like I probably should have and I didn’t. So that’s on me.

“If I want to give myself the opportunity to play on big courts, then I should win more often. So I’ll try to do that.”

Currently ranked world No.103, Rodionova pushed back when quizzed on new Australia captain Sam Stosur’s involvement with TA.

“Sam was always in my corner; it was not really Sam’s decision. I haven’t really had any conversations with anyone about that.

“In the Australian Open, I’m playing for myself. Here I’m representing the country, so I don’t see any correlation between those two events.

“Whatever happened in January, it’s happened in January.

“I’m really happy to be part of the team again after a few years.”

Taylah Preston.
Teenager Taylah Preston is included in Australia’s squad for the clash with Mexico. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Australia haven’t played a home Billie Jean King Cup tie since 2019, when the competition was still known as the Federation Cup.

That year, Stosur – who in December 2023 was appointed to succeed Alicia Molik as Australia’s Billie Jean King Cup captain – joined Ash Barty to lead the nation to their first final in 26 years.

Doubles ace Ellen Perez and teenage talent Taylah Preston have also been included for the April 12-13 tie at Pat Rafter Arena.