Anne Keothavong used to be a playing member of Mighty Britain’s Fed Cup team when they made the day out to Sweden for the 2012 World Community play-off.
Seven years, and three additional play-off disappointments later, she is now the captain of a side which at closing has the likelihood to stare whether it will probably even be competitive against the arena’s elite.
GB’s 3-1 victory over Kazakhstan at London’s Copper Box Arena ensures a return to World Community stage of the Fed Cup for the first time since 1993.
The layout for next year’s competition is much from signed off. But, for the first time in a generation, Britain will on the least launch up the year with a theoretical likelihood of lifting the trophy.
The Worldwide Tennis Federation hopes to introduce per week-long Finals that contains 12 groups from next April.
The thought is for this year’s semi-finalists to be joined by the winners of eight play-off ties to be staged in February.
- Background to proposed Fed Cup changes
- Boulter wins to total GB’s 26-year wait for Fed Cup promotion
- GB captain ‘in distress’ after Fed Cup pleasure
Interest from host worldwide locations used to be sought in March. Budapest is acknowledged to be among the cities to procure set its identify forward, however financing the tournament is but every other topic.
The ITF is known to procure pledged prize money in far extra than $10m (£7.7m), and that money is meant to be generated by the host city.
There’s additionally an very just correct amount of opposition to the realizing that. WTA tournaments staged within the weeks either side of the proposed Finals will seek recordsdata from to set historically sturdy fields depleted.
And there are players – and heaps fans – who resent the probably discount within the preference of dwelling ties which generate the special ambiance evident this weekend.
Keothavong, who says she has not but been requested her views by the ITF, admits to being in two minds about whether the reforms are within the most easy interests of the game.
“I’m not definite,” Britain’s captain says. “We’ve waited so long for a dwelling tie and now we procure it.
“The enhance we had used to be one thing we might perhaps not experience again, so it’s intelligent to perceive. I secure not know what the correct layout is for this competition.”
If the deliberate reform flounders, the ITF is seemingly to present one 16-team World Community for 2020, performed on a knockout foundation with the closing four competing for the title in November.
Both system, Britain can procure its work reduce out to do development.
Doable opponents embrace Japan (that contains world #1 Naomi Osaka); Romania (that contains world amount two Simona Halep); the Czech Republic (with two top five players in their ranks); and the US (who procure three top 20 players to receive from).
Britain does not for the time being procure any singles’ players on the earth’s top 40, and but in Johanna Konta and Katie Boulter plan procure two players you underestimate at your effort.
Konta appears to be like, infrequently, to be overwhelmed by nerves. Her sport goes off the boil, and but she invariably recovers, and desires to be mightily proud to procure won 11 singles fits in a row.
At 3-5 down within the deciding residing against Yulia Putintseva on Sunday, she won 16 of the closing 18 functions of the match. She used to be merely just correct, and is rising a steely Fed Cup persona.
Boulter is much earlier in her Fed Cup profession, however four singles wins in four days in February’s qualifying spherical in Bath were adopted right here by a extraordinarily arrive pass over against Putintseva (a match she can procure to procure won), and then a mettlesome comeback against Zarina Diyas.
With a sizzling water bottle tucked down the benefit of her skirt to soothe a obnoxious advantage at commerce of ends, she clinched the tie by running away with the closing residing. Some shrink, where Boulter appears to be like to thrive.
The pair will surely need the enhance of others if Britain are to became a force at World Community stage.
Heather Watson has had a hideous time in singles of gradual, however is a Immense Slam doubles champion. If she can forge a potent partnership with Harriet Budge, a pure doubles participant with singles aspirations of her hold, Britain will add but every other line of defence.
Katie Swan handiest turned into 20 closing month and is now a top 200 participant with four Fed Cup wins to her identify.
And having a peep a cramped bit additional forward, there might perhaps be 16-year-ragged Emma Raducanu, who Keothavong hopes “shall be knocking on the door soon”.
The team spirit appears to be like real, and so optimism can procure to not be frowned upon – in particular as, for the first time for added than a quarter of the century, the team will not be going to procure to suffer the annual tribulations of Europe-Africa zone qualifying.
This can even be a disgrace if Britain will not be ready to host dwelling ties frequently – the LTA proved again on the Copper Box that they know the correct technique to set on a extraordinarily correct repeat – however on the least the stakes shall be better in future.
That, in flip, diagram the profile shall be better. And that is broadly known news for girls’s tennis within the UK.