Despite not having the two Palm Beach County stars, USA still is stacked with a mostly changed lineup from the one that whipped Austria 4-0 at the Delray Beach Tennis Center in April in the first stage.
Gauff, the reigning U.S. Open champion from Delray Beach, and Pegula, of Boca Raton, spearheaded the Austrian sweep on their home turf.
The new quintet features two past Grand Slam champions and a Grand Slam Finalist.
Sloane Stephens (2017 U.S. Open champion), Sofia Kenin (2020 Australian Open titlist), Danielle Collins (2022 Aussie Open finalist), Taylor Townsend and rookie Peyton Stearns will represent the red, white and blue in the 12-country tournament that ends this weekend.
Tennis Channel will air the event. The Americans won’t play until Thursday when they face defending-champion Switzerland, then the Czech Republic on Friday in round-robin play.
Gauff and Pegula opted out because they figured to be top contenders in the WTA season-ending championships in Cancun last week. Indeed, both made the semifinals. Gauff lost to Pegula in Sunday’s semifinals. Pegula, ranked fifth in the world, was set to face Poland’s Iga Swiatek in Monday night’s final.
Last year, Gauff went from the WTA championships in Dallas straight to Glasgow, Scotland and admitted to exhaustion.
“You never know who is going to come out and play and show up,’’ Stephens said. “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.’’
This will be Stuart native Kathy Rinaldi’s final competition as USA captain and she welled up in tears when asked about it at Monday’s press conference.
Hall-of-Famer Lindsay Davenport will take over as captain in 2024. The U.S. team is vying for a record 19th championship. Nobody asked about Gauff or Pegula 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