(January 7, 2013) Heather Watson, Laura Robson, Anne Keothavong and Johanna Konta have been announced by the Lawn Tennis Association as Great Britain’s Fed Cup team for the Europe/Africa Zone Group I tie that will take place from February 6-9 2013 at the Municipal Tennis Club in Eilat, Israel.
Elena Baltacha who is currently recovering from injury will also be traveling with the team. The team will be led by Judy Murray who was appointed as Fed Cup Captain back in December of 2011.
Judy Murray said: “Last year’s Fed Cup was a great experience for all of us and we came close to securing a place in the World Group for the first time since 1995. Heather and Laura have pushed themselves up into the top 50 in the WTA rankings this year and they will have wonderfully experienced back-up in Anne and Bally who have 22 Fed Cups between them. Jo Konta makes her debut on the team after a terrific 2012 season which saw her break into the top 150. We have a great squad and we will be aiming to put ourselves in World Group contention once again.”
British No. 1 Heather Watson said, “Playing Fed Cup is always a highlight for me during the year. Most of the time we are out there playing for ourselves, but it’s a lot of fun and a great honour to compete as a team and represent our country against the best in the world.” Watson ended 2012 at a career-best No. 49 (currently No. 47) in the world winning her first career WTA singles title at the Japan Open, having already claimed Tour doubles titles at Stanford and Dallas in the USA during the summer.
Robson said, “’I am really excited to be part of the Fed Cup team again and I can’t wait to get back out there and hopefully win all of our matches.” Robson ended a career-best season in 2012 close to the Top 50, highlighted by a Silver Medal in mixed doubles at the Olympics, beating former Grand Slam champions Kim Clijsters and Li Na at the US Open and then becoming the first woman since 1990 to reach a WTA singles final, before Watson went one better, three weeks later.
“I can’t believe this will be my 12th time representing my country,” said British No. 3 Anne Keothavong. “I feel really proud how we have grown as a team in the last couple of years and came so close to making World Group II last year. It’s an added motivation knowing how close we were to try and take the extra step in 2013.”
Johanna Konta, is making her Fed Cup debut: “I’m so excited it’s beyond words and a real thrill to be nominated alongside Heather, Laura, Anne and Bally.”
The Aegon GB Fed Cup Team will contest the Europe/Africa Zone Group I, alongside 15 other nations, all vying to take the top two spots and progress to the World Group II play offs in April.
The 16 tennis nations in the Europe/Africa Zone Group I include: Austria, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Great Britain, Hungary, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Turkey.
The format will be four groups, each having four teams, all competing against each other (three matches) in Round-robin format. Play starts on Wednesday, 6 February and continues every day. The winners of each group will play off (Group A v Group C and Group B v Group D) to determine which two nations will advance to the World Group II Play-offs in April 20-21, 2013. All other nations will compete for positional Play-offs, including the final two relegation spots.