Tennis: GB relishing Fed Cup test in London
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Preparations for Great Britain’s Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II play-Off with Kazakhstan are gathering pace with less than two weeks to go before its historic debut in London.
A win for Great Britain at the Copper Box Arena on the Olympic Park site would see them qualify for the World Group for the first time since 1993 and under the captaincy of East Londoner Anne Keothavong.
Her team will go into the tie off the back of memorable recent victories in Bath over Slovenia, Greece, Hungary and Serbia and Great Britain, having reached the final of the Fed Cup four times, are currently 15th in the Fed Cup world rankings, four places above Kazakhstan.
The tie, which will take place at Copper Box Arena across Easter weekend on Saturday April 20-Sunday April 21, will see two singles matches on the first day, with the reverse singles and doubles matches on Easter Sunday.
It will be a unique opportunity for fans in the capital to experience top-level women’s tennis outside of the summer season.
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Keothavong said: “This tie is a fantastic opportunity for communities across East London to experience world-class tennis on their doorstep.
“I hope people will come to support our team during the weekend and leave feeling inspired to pick up a racket at their local park, club or school. Our sport really is open for anyone to play at any age and any time of year.
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“We saw in Bath how home support can make a real difference, so I’m hoping that local fans from East London will turn out in force to cheer us on.
“It will be an incredible experience for our team and I’m sure the atmosphere inside the Copperbox will be amazing.”
The GB team, which is set to be announced next week, is likely to feature Britain’s current number one Johanna Konta and Londoner Harriet Dart, who made her Fed Cup debut in Bath last month, is also hoping to be part of the squad.
Similar in format to the Davis Cup, the Fed Cup is the female World Cup of tennis, where almost 100 national teams compete for eight spots in the elite world group and a chance to lift the trophy in November 2019.
Away from the tie itself, tennis fever is set to grip East London with a number of LTA-run activities taking place in local schools and venues both before and after the tie aimed at giving young Londoners to chance to try tennis.
Up to 9,600 local children are expected to take part in the sessions including ones in Newham, Hackney and Tower Hamlets.
As part of the LTA’s strategy to make tennis more accessible, ticket prices start from £6 for children under 16 and £12 for adults.
To purchase tickets or to access more information about the Fed Cup team, head to lta.org.uk/FedCup.