Germany has waited a very long time to reach the final of Fed Cup by BNP Paribas. The last time they achieved that feat, and in fact also won it, was in 1992. That year the team comprised of Steffi Graf, Anke Huber and one Barbara Rittner.
In recent years Rittner has taken over the captaincy of the team and it was her goal to take her nation back to the final. Germany’s 3-1 result over Australia, itself in a 21-year drought since last reaching the Fed Cup Final, is the first step in Barbara Rittner’s vision.
“It feels pretty good, I have to say; I always said that’s my goal,” explained Rittner. “With this team, with so many talented players, I knew we are able to do it and of course we want to go to win it one day. Now we are in the final, which is a big step already. The semifinal was great and I’m just so proud the way the team is standing together and I am looking forwards to the final.”
When Angelique Kerber powered down an ace on match point to defeat Sam Stosur in the first reverse singles to give Germany the semifinal tie, Rittner sprang out of her courtside captain’s chair like a jack-in-a-box. She was soon joined on the court by the whole team as they celebrated the end of a drought.
They will savour this moment for a while and later in the year will focus on taking that next step. At the time of writing they did not know who they would face in the final, the Czech Republic or Italy; the Czechs were in the driver’s seat.
“Wherever, whenever, we will be ready,” said Rittner. “Right now I’m just enjoying the moment that we are in the final and of course whoever is in the final against us, if it’s the Czechs or Italy, they have experience with playing a final.
“They’ve both won it recently so it’s going to be a big one for us, but we will enjoy every minute of it.”
Whether they win or lose, they have taken a big step already. If they do win it will be a unique achievement for Rittner having her name on the trophy as a player and as a captain.