GB gears up for next weekend’s playoffs
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Following the disappointing Davis Cup result last weekend, attention is now turning to the Fed Cup World Group II playoffs where the British team is looking for promotion.
This is the first time in four years we are in this position and I know everyone is excited by the opportunity
The team led by BritainÈs number one player and world number 7, face the daunting task of oversetting Romania who in turn are expected to be led by the world number five, Simona Halep, on the clay of the ConstantaÈs Tenis Club IDU.
Britain who have not won the Fed Cup or as it was previously known, the Federation Cup since the inception of the competition in 1963 are attempting to get back into the top level of the competition for the first time since 1993.
The team will be relying on Konta to maintain the form which saw her win the Miami Open earlier this month and she will be supported by Heather Watson, Laura Robson and doubles specialist Jocelyn Rae with 18-year-old Katie Swan going along for the experience.
Watson has had a poor run over recent months and her ranking has dropped dramatically to 110 but she has in the past risen to the occasion when it came to represent her country having recorded 25 wins against seven losses in singles and doubles. She was also unbeaten during the Europe/Africa Zone Group stage last February when the team gained its place in next weekendÈs playoffs.
The team, when captained by Judy Murray, made the playoffs in 2012 and 2013 but were unsuccessful leading Murray to resign from the captaincy in some frustration.
Anne Keothavong replaced her and so far, has been successful, but she would love to make the breakthrough which eluded her predecessor. "I am delighted to name the same team who represented us so strongly back in February for our group wins in Estonia to enable us to get through to this play-off, she said.
"Fed Cup is a unique privilege to wear your nation’s colours and it’s something I know all of our team takes great pride in. This is the first time in four years we are in this position and I know everyone is excited by the opportunity.
"Romania have a first-class team and will have home advantage on their best surface. We are very much the underdogs.
"That being said, we have an excellent team spirit with lots of combined Fed Cup experience and Johanna is playing the best tennis of her career."
The full Romanian team has yet to be confirmed but Simona Halep is certainly expected to be at the forefront of their campaign with their captain Ilie Nastase able to select other players who are currently in the top 100.