03/24/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/24/2021 07:51
Monica Niculescu has been named captain of the Romanian Billie Jean King Cup team, replacing the outgoing Florin Segarceanu.
The 33-year-old - currently the world No. 152 in singles and No. 52 in doubles - will take charge of Romania for their Play-off clash with Italy at the Sala Polivalenta in Clij-Napoca on 16-17 April.
It's a proud moment for Niculescu, who has worn her heart on her sleeve for her nation in the competition (formerly known as Fed Cup) since 2004.
She holds five records for Romania in the Billie Jean King Cup - having achieved more match-wins (31), doubles wins (16) and ties played (37) than any other player during a record 12 years playing for her country. She also forms one half of Romania's most successful doubles partnership, having achieved an unbroken 8-0 record alongside her older sister Gabriela Niculescu between 2004 and 2005.
Niculescu was agonisingly close to helping Romania reach the Final for the first time in 2019. Alongside Simona Halep, she fell in a nail-biting deciding doubles to Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic 6-4 in the deciding set, with the French ultimately going on to lift their first title in 16 years in Perth later that year.
The departing Segarceanu sees his tenure come to an end after three years and six ties, during which time he guided Romania to wins over Canada, Switzerland and Czech Republic before defeats to France and Russia.
'The new generation is in good hands and I hope to see results,' he said in an interview with a Romanian radio station. 'I will stay with the team, I will always be there, but I will no longer be on the bench, in the position of captain.
'I have no regrets. It was a beautiful experience and the fact that I will always be by their side makes me feel very good. I have a very close friendship with Simona and the other girls. Maybe it's also a question of age, this year I turn 60 and sometimes I think that the younger generations need more energy and maybe people closer to their age.'