The start of the new season will see some changes in Fed Cup captaincy as Anne Keothavong, Kathy Rinaldi and Yannick Noah are now set to lead GB, USA and France respectively in next yearÈs major international team competition for women.
We have found the best candidate in Anne
Keothavong takes over as Fed Cup Captain
At the beginning of this moneth, Anne Keothavong has taken on the role of Senior National WomenÈs Coach and Fed Cup Captain at the LTA.
The position involves working with Head Coach WomenÈs Tennis Jeremy Bates in overseeing the development and delivery of individual support programmes for aspiring professional players, as well as preparation and management of the Aegon GB Fed Cup team in the role of Captain.
Keothavong will travel to the Australian Open in preparation for the Fed Cup Euro/Africa Zone Group 1 from 7-12 February in Tallinn, Estonia.
We have found the best candidate in Anne, said Jeremy Bates, LTA Head WomenÈs Coach.
She has a tremendous work ethic having gone through triumph and adversity in her own career, and has a burning desire to give back to British Tennis.
What she brings to the role is first-hand knowledge of the 16-20 development ages, having successfully negotiated this hurdle herself and has extensive WTA and ITF experience to draw from.
She also has numerous Fed Cup matches under her belt, so she fully understands the pressures and challenges that come along with that.
As a coach, Anne is a really good communicator, has a motivational delivery, sets standards and knows what it takes to achieve them and succeed.
Keothavong is delighted to be taking on the position, stating: What a privilege itÈs been to see all the British success on the court over the last couple of years, especially this last 12 months. But success doesnÈt just happen, it takes hard work, dedication, commitment and a desire to continually do better.
I really look forward to working with everyone in British Tennis: the performance and coaching teams at the LTA and of course the players as we aim to raise the bar even higher.
As a young girl growing up in Hackney, I never in my wildest dreams thought tennis would have given me the opportunities it has.
ThatÈs why itÈs important to always dream big. This is a unique time in our sport, and through our athletes and the Fed Cup, we have the ability to inspire more coming along, both professionally and recreationally, into this great game of ours.
As a professional player Anne won 20 singles titles from 2001-2013 across all levels on the ITF WomenÈs Pro Circuit.
On the WTA Tour, Keothavong was a runner-up in doubles at Florianopolis and a seven-time singles semi-finalist, including the WTA Premier stop at 2009 Warsaw.
That same year in February, she became the first woman since Jo Durie 16 years earlier, to break into the worldÈs Top 50.
Keothavong had an illustrious and long-standing Fed Cup playing career.
She first represented her country in 2001, playing in all years of the tournament, apart from 2002, during her 13-year pro career.
Aged 17 years, 221 days, Keothavong was the youngest Briton to represent her country in Fed Cup, in a 52-year span until Katie Swan (270 days younger) broke that record in 2016.
Only Virginia Wade has donned the Union Jack more in the competition than KeothavongÈs 40 ties. She played 44 singles and doubles Fed Cup rubbers in that time. Her record of 21 singles wins in the competition is only bettered by Wade (with 36).
Rinaldi takes over as US Fed Cup captain
Kathy Rinaldi takes on the US Fed Cup captaincy in place of Mary Joe Fernandez, who relinquished the role last October, the USTA announced this month.
Rinaldi, 49, takes over an expanded position which will also involve working with Team USA players throughout the WTA Tour season and a much closer liaison with the USTA’s player development.
"Kathy brings a rare combination of skills to the Fed Cup captaincy," USTA president Katrina Adams said in a statement.
"She was a top-10 player when competing on the WTA Tour and now is a top-flight coach with impeccable credentials.
"Kathy already commands the respect and confidence of the U.S. players.
This coupled with her leadership experience, and winning mentality makes her the ideal individual to ensure that the team is best composed, and best prepared, to compete with whatever opponent is across the net."
Rinaldi won three WTA singles titles and two doubles crowns during a playing career that ended in September 1997.
In 1981, she became at 14 years, 91 days the youngest player to win a match at Wimbledon, a record that stood until 1990.
"This is an unbelievable opportunity," Rinaldi said. "I believe that my experiences as both a player and a coach have given me insight that will help me to succeed in this role."
Fernandez resigned after eight years as US Fed Cup captain, saying that the expanded role did not fit in with her other work and family commitments.
The United States, winners of a record 17 Fed Cup titles, last won the women’s team competition in 2000 and were runners-up in 2010.
Davis Cup captain Yannick Noah to skipper Fed Cup side
The French Tennis Federation has named Yannick Noah as France’s Fed Cup captain for next year.
Noah, who is also France’s Davis Cup captain, replaces Amelie Mauresmo, who stepped down last month because she is expecting her second child.
Mauresmo was in charge of the Fed Cup team since 2013 and guided it to this year’s final, where it lost 3-2 to the Czech Republic in a tense final.
Under Mauresmo, France won six out of nine Fed Cup ties.
First up for Noah is the first round match against Switzerland in Geneva in February.
The 56-year-old Noah, the French Open champion in 1983, previously took charge of the Fed Cup team from 1997-98.
This year he led France to the Davis Cup semifinals in September, losing to Croatia.
Noah, who was the last Frenchman to win Roland Garros in 1983 and took over for a third time in September 2015 after captaining France to victory in 1991 and 1996, has had his contract extended for a further year.
France travel to Japan for the first round of the 2017 edition of the David Cup in 3-5 February.