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Hackney's Keothavong leads GB to Fed Cup World Group in 'a very special moment'

PUBLISHED: 10:00 24 April 2019

Great Britain's Anne Keothavong celebrates during the Fed Cup at the Copper Box, London.

Great Britain's Anne Keothavong celebrates during the Fed Cup at the Copper Box, London.

PA Wire/PA Images

Anne Keothavong described her achievement of securing Great Britain's progress to the Fed Cup World Group II with victory over Kazakhstan in front of local Hackney fans at the Copper Box Arena over the Easter weekend as a 'very special moment'.

The Great Britain team celebrate during day two of the Fed Cup at the Copper Box, London.The Great Britain team celebrate during day two of the Fed Cup at the Copper Box, London.

Katie Boulter came from behind in the fourth rubber to blow out Zarina Diyas in the third and deciding set, and secure a 3-1 win in the tie, to guarantee GB's return back to World Group tier after 26 years.

World number 86 Boulter had lost her first singles match to world number 38 Yulia Putintseva on Saturday, while British number one and world number 47 Johanna Konta won both her rubbers, including against Diyas in the opener.

And after three attempts since taking over the captaincy from Judy Murray in 2017, Hackney's Keothavong – a former British number one – said: “I'm just ecstatic for the team. I'm just totally in awe for these women.

“It was such an incredible effort by everyone. The performances this weekend, the courage they showed out there.

“I guess credit to all of them because we kept putting ourselves in this position to have a chance of getting through this play off match, but I really feel that having the home advantage this time round made all the difference.

“It was an incredible atmosphere all weekend and just massive thank you to the fans who supported the players.”

The 35-year-old Keothavong, whose brother James is a highly-regarded international tennis umpire, reached a career high world ranking of 48 and played for GB in a Fed Cup World Group play-off in 2012 before retiring in 2013.

And that after she began playing tennis at nearby Hackney Downs at the tender age of seven. Whoever thought she would go on and captain a winning British Fed Cup team on her own doorstep?

“It's very special because growing up you just don't expect to see what I never expected to see – international tennis on my doorstep,” she continued.

“For a lot of people in the local area who have had the opportunity to come and watch the players play this weekend I hope they feel they left feeling inspired.”

The other members of the GB squad were Heather Watson, north London's Harriet Dart and Katie Swan.

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