Newlywed Jessica Pegula will not play the upcoming Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Prague as part of Team USA and will be replaced by Shelby Rogers, who joins Danielle Collins, Sloane Stephens, CoCo Vandeweghe and Caroline Dolehide on Captain Kathy Rinaldi’s squad.
As recently as yesterday, the Billie Jean King Cup congratulated Jessica Pegula on getting married and the American jokingly replied “honeymoon in Prague”, so the USTA’s announcement that the 27-year-old will not play the tournament after all comes as a surprise.
Pegula clarified the situation a few hours after the USTA’s press release, citing a COVID-19 contact as a reason:
Unfortunately due to a COVID close contact and out of precaution, I won’t be able to play the Billie Jean King Cup this year. I am upset I won’t get the chance to represent my country and that the year ends for me this way. I wish the team the best of luck and will be rooting from home!
The world No.40 Rogers reunites with Stephens and Vandeweghe, who together won the Billie Jean King Cup title in 2017. Rogers played in all three ties for Team USA that year, and she and Vandeweghe clinched the title over Belarus in Minsk in a fifth-and-decisive doubles match vs. Aryna Sabalenka and Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
The six-day Billie Jean King Cup Finals, to be played inside Prague’s O2 Arena from November 1 to November 6, will feature 12 teams drawn into four groups to compete in a round-robin format, with the Group winners advancing to the knockout-style semifinals.
The U.S. was drawn into Group C and will play Slovakia on Tuesday, November 2, and Spain, on Wednesday, November 3, both on Centre Court and not before 5 p.m. local time. Each tie will be a best-of-three competition with two singles matches and one doubles match.