Fed Cup: Great Britain to stage home tie for first time in 25 years

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Johanna Konta won both her singles rubbers in Great Britain’s play-off against Japan

Great Britain will host a home Fed Cup tie in 2019 for the first time in 25 years.

Britain and Poland will share hosting duties for the round-robin event in the top division of the Europe/Africa zone.

Bath University will stage the event on 6-9 February, with Britain joined by seven other teams, split into two groups of four.

Britain have played in 15 different countries since they last hosted a home tie in May 1993.

The annual tournament involves up to 16 teams from Europe and Africa.

Captain Anne Keothavong said a home tie would give the British side a chance to showcase women’s tennis.

“A lot of people have been able to experience what Davis Cup is like and we’d like to prove we can match it,” she said.

“I know we’ve all been envious of the Davis Cup team having that experience and there’s nothing that’s driven the team more than wanting to have a home tie.”

The winners of February’s tie will go on to contest a World Group II play-off in April.

Britain have reached the play-offs four times in the past seven years but lost on each occasion.

Their most recent defeat came in April, when they lost the deciding doubles rubber against Japan to go down 3-2.

How does the format work?

  • The Europe/Africa Zone Group I involves up to 16 teams.
  • The eight nations competing in Britain will be split into two groups of four.
  • Each side will play two singles and a doubles match with each nation in its group.
  • The winner of each group will play in a final at the end of the week.
  • The winner of the final will enter the World Group II play-offs.

Great Britain, who are 18th in the Fed Cup rankings, have not competed in the World Group since 1993.

Their team for this year’s play-off against Japan included Britain’s top two players in Johanna Konta and Heather Watson.

However, both have had difficult seasons, with British number one Konta falling to 44th in the world rankings after starting the year ninth.

“I know Jo and Heather aren’t in the place they’d like to be, but you only have to look at their Fed Cup records to know they’re capable of rising to the occasion,” Keothavong added.

“We’ve got players like Katie Boulter, Katie Swan, Gabi Taylor, all of whom have hit career-high rankings this year and are only improving.

“This will be a great opportunity for the younger players to really compete for a place in the team.”

A pre-draw will be held later this week to determine which seven nations will travel to Bath.

Europe/Africa Zone Group I nations: Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey and Ukraine.



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