London | Raducanu opts out of BJK Cup tie against France in April

British No 1 Emma Raducanu has opted out of representing her country in the Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers against France to be held in Coventry from 14-15 April, choosing to play the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart instead.

I’m pleased to name the same team as the one we had four months ago in Glasgow where we gelled so well and the team spirit was electric. There were some memorable performances across the week to help us reach the semi-finals... While Emma is unavailable for this tie, we look forward to seeing her back on the team in the near future. Anne Keothavong, Great Britain's Billie Jean King Cup captain

After a prolonged struggle for form and fitness, the 20-year old, who is now ranked 72, is coming off the back of an impressive run at Indian Wells, where she beat 2 seeded players on her way to reaching the Last 16 and lost to World No 1 Iga Swiatek.

Doubts arose over her commitment to Britain’s forthcoming tie when she told reporters last week: “I don’t even know when it is…”

The comment irritated GB Team Captain Anne Keothavong, who tweeted a ‘puzzled face’ emoji before writing: “My communication skills are generally good in case anyone was wondering.”

The fact that the BJK Cup tie is to be played on indoor hard courts, while Stuttgart is on clay 2 days later, no doubt, prompted Raducanu to opt for the latter at the start of the clay-court season, plus the WTA 500 tournament, which carries vital ranking points, is sponsored by Porsche, one of the Brit’s luxury brand endorsement deals, and must also have influenced the decision.

The Stuttgart indoor clay event starts on 16 April, with Iga Swiatek as the defending champion beginning her build-up for the French Open.


Team GB (L-R): Harriet Dart, Heather Watson, Katie Boulter, Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls

lta.org.uk

In America, Raducanu confirmed she had enjoyed a stint off social media to help her focus on tennis: “After AO [Australian Open] I deleted WhatsApp and Instagram off my phone and after that, I’ve been living under my own little rock,” she said.

“I felt like sometimes you go through patches where you just want to zone in on yourself and I was very content with my life without it.”

It seems the former US Open champion is reluctant to represent her country in team events, and she was not part of the team during GB’s historic run to the semi-finals last year, where they ultimately lost to Australia in Glasgow, while, at the start of 2023, Raducanu opted to enter a WTA 250 event in Auckland rather than represent Britain in the United Cup in Sydney.


lta.org.uk

“I’m pleased to name the same team as the one we had four months ago in Glasgow where we gelled so well and the team spirit was electric,” Keothavong announced on the LTA website on Friday. “There were some memorable performances across the week to help us reach the semi-finals.”

Harriet Dart, ranked 109, Heather Watson (140), Katie Boulter (151), and doubles players Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls make up the Team GB squad.

“Harriet showed us what she’s capable of by beating the likes of [Paula] Badosa and [Ajla] Tomljanovic,” Keothavong continued. “We saw Alicia and Olivia make their Cup debut, where they brought so much energy to the court and demonstrated how important doubles is.

“Katie and Heather have a proven track record in this competition and are enthusiastic as ever to be part of this team.

“While Emma is unavailable for this tie we look forward to seeing her back on the team in the near future.”

In front of a buoyant Glasgow crowd, Great Britain finished top of Group C ahead of Spain and Kazakhstan in 2022 to advance to the semi-finals of the Billie Jean King Cup for the first time since 1981.

Singles wins for Storm Sanders and Dart against Watson and Tomljanovic respectively forced a deciding doubles rubber, where Barnett & Nicholls fell to defeat in a tiebreak to Sanders & Sam Stosur.

Australia ended up losing to Switzerland in the final, and both nations have already qualified for the 2023 Finals after battling in last year’s showpiece event.


Iga Swiatek will represent Poland in the BJK Cup and defend her Stuttgart title in the same week, both played on clay

© Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images

There are 18 teams competing for 9 places at the BJK Cup Finals, which will take place in November.

Four of the Top 10 and a total of 4 Grand Slam champions will be featuring in April’s Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers, including Swiatek, Barbora Krejcikova, and Bianca Andreescu.

Swiatek, the World No 1, and Australian Open semi-finalist Magda Linette will lead a strong Polish side against Elena Rybakina’s Kazakhstan squad, while Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff spearhead Team USA’s home tie against Austria.


Simona Waltert, Viktorija Golubic, Jil Teichmann, Belinda Bencic and Heinz Gunthardt of Switzerland celebrate winning the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup for Switzerland at Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Scotland.

© Ian MacNicol/Getty Images for LTA

Team Nominations

Kazakhstan vs. Poland

  • Venue: National Tennis Centre – Beeline Arena, Astana (clay, indoors)
  • Head-to-head: first meeting

Kazakhstan

  • Elena Rybakina
  • Yuliya Putintseva
  • Gozal Ainitdinova
  • Anna Danilina
  • Zhanel Rustemova

Captain: Yaroslava Shvedova

Poland

  • Iga Swiatek
  • Magda Linette
  • Magdalena Frech
  • Weronika Falkowska
  • Alicja Rosolska

Captain: Dawid Celt

USA vs. Austria

  • Venue: Delray Beach Tennis Center, Delray Beach, FL (hard, outdoors)
  • Head-to-head: USA lead 7-2

USA

  • Jessica Pegula
  • Coco Gauff
  • Madison Keys
  • Danielle Collins
  • Catherine McNally

Captain: Kathy Rinaldi

Austria

  • Julia Grabher
  • Sinja Kraus
  • Barbara Haas
  • Tamira Paszek
  • Melanie Klaffner

Captain: Marion Maruska

Great Britain vs. France

  • Venue: Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry (hard, indoors)
  • Head-to-head: Great Britain lead 2-1  

Great Britain

  • Harriet Dart
  • Heather Watson
  • Katie Boulter
  • Alicia Barnett
  • Olivia Nicholls
  • Captain: Anne Keothavong

France

  • Caroline Garcia
  • Alizé Cornet
  • Clara Burel
  • Kristina Mladenovic

Captain: Julien Benneteau

Ukraine vs. Czech Republic

  • Venue: Megasaray Club Belek, Antalya, Turkiye (clay, outdoors)
    Head-to-head: first meeting  

Ukraine

  • Marta Kostyuk
  • Dayana Yastremska
  • Katarina Zavatska
  • Liudmyla Kichenok

Captain: Mykhailo Filima

Czech Republic

  • Barbora Krejcikova
  • Katerina Siniakova
  • Linda Noskova
  • Karolina Muchova
  • Marketa Vondrousova
  • Captain: Petr Pala

Canada vs. Belgium

  • Venue: Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver (hard, indoors)
  • Head-to-head: Belgium lead 3-0

Canada

  • Bianca Andreescu
  • Leylah Fernandez
  • Rebecca Marino
  • Gabriela Dabrowski

Captain: Heidi El Tabakh

Belgium

  • Ysaline Bonaventure
  • Greet Minnen
  • Yanina Wickmayer
  • Kirsten Flipkens

Captain: Wim Fissette

Slovakia vs. Italy

  • Venue: NTC Arena, Bratislava (hard, indoors)
  • Head-to-head: Slovakia lead 2-0 

Slovakia

  • Anna Karolina Schmiedlova
  • Viktoria Kuzmova
  • Renata Jamrichova
  • Tereza Mihalikova

Captain: Matej Liptak

Italy

  • Martina Trevisan
  • Camilla Giorgi
  • Elisabetta Cocciaretto
  • Jasmine Paolini
  • Lucia Bronzetti

Captain: Tathiana Garbin

Germany vs. Brazil

  • Venue: Porsche Arena, Stuttgart (clay, indoors)
  • Head-to-head: Germany lead 4-0 

Germany

  • Tatjana Maria
  • Jule Niemeier
  • Anna-Lena Friedsam
  • Eva Lys
  • Laura Siegemund

Captain: Rainer Schuettler

Brazil

  • Beatriz Haddad Maia
  • Laura Pigossi
  • Carolina Alves
  • Ingrid Martins
  • Luisa Stefani

Captain: Roberta Burzagli

Slovenia vs. Romania

  • Venue: Sport Park Bonifika, Koper (clay, outdoors)
  • Head-to-head: Slovenia lead 1-0

Slovenia

  • Tamara Zidansek
  • Kaja Juvan
  • Nina Potocnik
  • Pia Lovric
  • Ela Nala Milic

Captain: Andrej Krasevec

Romania

  • Ana Bogdan
  • Irina Bara
  • Jaqueline Cristian
  • Anca Todoni
  • Monica Niculescu

Captain: Horia Tecau

Spain vs. Mexico

  • Venue: Puente Romano Club de Tenis, Marbella (clay, outdoors)
  • Head-to-head: Spain lead 1-0

Spain

  • Nuria Parrizas Diaz
  • Rebeka Masarova
  • Sara Sorribes Tormo
  • Marina Bassols Y Ribera
  • Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov

Captain: Anabel Medina Garrigues

Mexico

  • Fernanda Contreras
  • Marcela Zacarias
  • Renata Zarazua
  • Giuliana Olmos

Captain: Augustin Moreno


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