Fed Cup: Anne Keothavong hopes home advantage will provide Britain the X factor
It is virtually 26 years since Great Britain last played in the elite World Group standard of the Fed Cup, the flagship team competition of women’s tennis. Ever since, they’ve already languished a few rungs inside of the top flight, the road returning to the very best level blocked by superior opposition, tough draws and a fair bit of accident.
Unless you are a country blessed with several top players, similar to the Czech Republic (which have won the big event in six of the past eight years), the us and France, the Fed Cup can be a harsh environment.
Last year Britain came through four matches in four days to then fall to Japan inside a play-off that would have elevated those to World Group II, the next tier in the competition. If your format is nearly as obscure as it would be to navigate, there is certainly real optimism recently that Britain may turn climbing the ladder.
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That feeling comes from a substantial squad, led by Johanna Konta, ranked No 39 but showing signs of the form that took her within the top 10, protected by Katie Boulter, ranked 83, Heather Watson, Harriet Dart and Katie Swan. Nevertheless the X factor may just be that somebody in charge of because they dropped from the World Group in 1993, Britain will likely be playing in your own home.
The venue will be the University of Bath, an amazing discover quite a number of elite sportsmen and girls. Showcasing women’s tennis from a perhaps the country not renowned for that sport would be a major take into account convincing the International Tennis Federation to create Britain group hosts. “It will probably be key,” Anne Keothavong said . “I never got a chance to go through it as the player on the other hand am awaiting experiencing being a captain so i understand all the players are extremely.”
Keothavong stressed the significance of boosting participation, not least since figures from Sport England showed the quantity of regular tennis players in Britain fell from 457,200 to 398,100 while in the Few years to 2019.
“We’re bringing tennis to a different perhaps the country,” she said. “There’s no grass-court event here or something different. We’re attempting to open our sport approximately plenty of people as you can. Everyone understand the participation figures and everyone’s cognizant of that, however think events this way help raise the profile of women’s tennis that is certainly something we need to all get interested in given that the depth of women’s tennis on this country will be as strong as it is often ever been. We wish more kids to take up the action, we really wish for several individuals to participate as you possibly can. The participants truly realize of these, and of the better picture as well.”
With the Davis Cup having switched to an alternative format this current year, the Fed Cup may improvements on in the future but, for the time being, escaping the viewers remains a challenging slog. “The stress and also the emotions that individuals all feel as a team to have by using a week like that, it will take a whole lot away from the players understanding that won’t be underestimated,” Keothavong added. “The format, which can be frustrating, is one area I’ve talked about prior to now. I am very strongly about Fed Cup and Davis Cup to arrive line with one another.
“We came close this past year. It’s credit on the players they’ve got keep returning again. You will find there’s shared goal and also a shared purpose, but they want to proceed this journey together and hopefully have another opportunity, another shot at defining it as into the World Group. Credit for all of these for that, actually able to put on their own on the line and do everything over again.”
If Britain will succeed soon, much is dependent upon the efforts of Konta. Though she was beaten in the second round on the Australian Open recently, her level of play was a vast step up from cost-free 1 / 2 of a year ago and she moves into Tuesday’s opening match, against Slovenia, with assurance.
Getting out of the group will never be easy however it won’t be to the deficiency of support.