PRAGUE, Czech Republic - The USA may be two rubbers down to the Czech Republic after the first day of Fed Cup action - but captain Kathy Rinaldi says her team could easily be two up instead.
"I think all credit to the Czech players, they were awesome today, but that being said we could have been up 0-2 as well," she told press on Saturday evening. "I thought today we played some great tennis, these girls laid their hearts and souls on that court and competed.
"It was just a day of missed opportunities in my opinion. But again anything can happen in Fed Cup, and tomorrow is another day. I'm super-proud of these girls."
In the opening match, tournament debutante Sofia Kenin took the first set before losing 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-4 to Barbora Strycova, and then Alison Riske lost in straight sets to Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 7-6(2).
That put the Czechs in a commanding position - requiring just one win to wrap up their 11th Fed Cup title.
"They've had a long history of great players and great champions, just as the United States has," reflected Rinaldi. "They're tremendous athletes, they work hard, and they have a lot of players, and so do we. I think that's what makes a country so good.
"I think it starts at the base, with juniors and the young prospects, and as they come up the ranks, you make sure they don't have big gaps and they transition at each level and make it. I think they've done a super job with that over the years.
"I have a lot of respect for their players - obviously I've played against many of them. It's a thrill to play against them in Fed Cup."