Konta, Watson and Robson ready to lift GB out of Fed Cup doldrums
Team GB have never faired terribly well in the Fed Cup, but that could all be about to change in the coming years.
A quarter of runner-up spots – the most recent coming in 1981 – is GB’s best result, and in recent years the team have failed to make any inroad into the complicated format.
Currently in the Group One Euro/Africa Zone, GB are in the competition’s third tier as the action gets underway in Tallinn, Estonia this week.
Some 14 nations will compete for promotion in the Baltic nation, but only two will go up.
Even then, promotion only secures you a spot in the play-offs against a losing nation from the level above.
No wonder Judy Murray quit as captain last year, frustrated at the format and GB’s struggles.
But in Keothavong, Great Britain now have a skipper who knows the format inside out, and isn’t going to waste energy and focus fighting it.
The laid-back 33-year-old, who played almost 40 ties in the competition for GB between 2001 and 2013, said: “The format doesn’t lend itself to anything – but it is what it is and we have to accept that.”
Where Murray also came unstuck 12 months ago, was the withdrawal of Jo Konta.
But the world number 10 is ready to lead the team this time around, alongside Heather Watson and Laura Robson.
And with GB drawn alongside Latvia, Portugal and Turkey, there will be no excuses for defeat, with those three nations boasting just two top-100 players between them.
Konta’s rise, coupled with Watson and Robson’s return from injuries, offers Keothavong the luxury of naming all three in her squad, something Murray could never do.
The convoluted format means it will be at least two years before GB can play in the World Group I, but we should get a glimpse of the team’s potential this week.
But speaking to the press this week, GB’s captain is optimistic: “There are only eight teams in the Fed Cup World Group, whereas Davis Cup has 16, so, with the format, it will take us a few years to get there.”
“But we can certainly put women’s tennis on the map in this country.”
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing