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Fed Cup: Johanna Konta nominated for Fed Cup Heart Award

Johanna Konta has been nominated for a Fed Cup Heart Award following her gutsy performances during the Europe/Africa Zone Group I competition. The award celebrates players who have displayed outstanding determination and courage on court.

Konta’s nomination comes after she won all four of her singles matches at the University of Bath in February - Great Britain's first home tie in over a quarter of a century. Her nomination falls under the Europe/Africa I category, with Russia’s Natalia Vikhlyantseva also in contention. Konta was also nominated for the same accolade last year after her solid run in the Estonian capital of Tallinn, in the same zonal tie event. 

Vote for Johanna!

You can cast your vote for the Fed Cup Heart Award now via the Fed Cup website. Voting will remain open until Thursday 21 before the winner is announced on Monday 25 March.  

The British No.1 kickstarted her Fed Cup campaign in Bath with a straight sets victory of world No.86 Dalila Jakupovic. After closing out a tense opening set which involved saving three set points in a tie-break, Konta remained resilient to capture a 7-6(7), 6-2 win over the Slovenian.

She then went on to play Greece’s Maria Sakkari who was ranked just one spot higher at world No.38. Despite losing the first set, Konta stayed spirited and seized an impressive 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory.

For her final round-robin rubber, she faced an inspired Anna Bondar of Hungary.  Konta started strong by taking the first set 6-2, but Bondar was a force to be reckoned with and levelled the match by winning the second set tie-break. She was forced to dig deep in the third before delighting the sell-out crowd with a 6-2, 6-7(1), 7-6(4) win.

After reaching Saturday’s play-off, the 2017 Wimbledon semi-finalist had fans on the edge of their seats as she survived her third three-set thriller of the week. Despite taking a medical timeout in the final set, she battled hard to triumph 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-2.

Konta’s victories in Bath, combined with another four singles wins by Katie Boulter and two doubles wins by Harriet Dart and Katie Swan, meant the Brits concluded the week with an epic 10/0 win/loss record. The achievement edged them into the World Group II Play-Off for a third consecutive year - a remarkable fifth time in the previous eight years.  

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The Brits will be back in action when they face Kazakhstan at London’s Copper Box Arena, 20-21 April.  Victory in April would mean they would return to the elite World Group level for the first time in 26 years.

Back the Brits!

Tickets to the Fed Cup World Group II Play-Off are now on sale. Make some noise and cheer on the team – all tickets can be purchased online and are available from as little as £6 for children and £12 for adults. 

Fed Cup: Celebrating the team behind the team on International Women’s Day

In six weeks, Great Britain’s Fed Cup team will return to action as they face Kazakhstan for a place in the World Group. The World Group II Play-Off will be staged at East London’s Copper Box Arena, 20-21 April, and triumph for the Brits would edge them back into the top tier of the competition for the first time since 1993.

Today not only marks tickets going on sale for the tie, but also champions International Women’s Day. To celebrate, we’re shining the spotlight on some members of the incredible Fed Cup support team, both female and male, who work solidly behind-the-scenes to help the Brits achieve smashing results on court.

Milly Mirkovic is the team’s Physiotherapist. Her role involves monitoring the players in the lead up to the competition to ensure they are as injury-free as possible. During the event, she works closely with the players to help them recover well after each match, whilst addressing any niggles that may have developed. She also attends any injury-related court calls should a player ask for evaluation or treatment during a match.

Reflecting on her experience in Bath for the Europe/Africa Group I competition, Milly said: “I really enjoyed working together as a team – from warm-up routines to cheering on the bench – not forgetting the recovery work past the hours of midnight, and of course winning the tie to qualify for the play-offs!

 “It’s so exciting to have a home tie in London, where most of us live. It’s going to be in a world- class venue which I’m sure will have an amazing crowd to cheer on the team,” she added.  

Also excited by April’s Fed Cup tie - which comes just two months after Great Britain played in front of a home crowd for the first time in over a quarter of a century - is Strength and Conditioning Coach Conor McGoldrick. “Getting a home tie was massive, so I’m excited to see the Copper Box hopefully full and noisy in full support of the players,” he said.  

Conor’s role involves helping the players prepare physically whilst also supporting their recovery so they can compete at their very best each day. In Bath, he was particularly impressed with the team’s 10/0 win/loss record commenting, “To go through the week without losing a match was a massive highlight – especially when you consider how many world-class players there were.”

Elsewhere in the team, Performance Analyst Hannah Thomas was busy studying the players’ opponents so they felt as prepared as possible going into their matches. “My work involves supporting players and coaches with stats and video so they can develop their games both technically and tactically,” said Hannah.   

“Throughout the week, I would focus specifically on opposition analysis – this is when you break down the opponents that the players will face, looking at specific patterns of play, and strengths and weaknesses so that they’re ready for what faces them out on court."

There were matches in Bath that were tantalisingly close, with five out of their eight singles rubbers played going the distance to three sets. Having solid performance analysis in the mix is therefore crucial; by having prior knowledge of their opponents, players can dig that little bit deeper.  

“Katie [Boulter]’s match against Dalma Galfi was a highlight. We were all very proud of her being able to come through that to get the win, in such a tough match both physically and mentally,” she concluded.  

Hannah works closely with the team’s coaches to ensure that “the most accurate and objective information is fed back to our players before and during each match.” Former Fed Cup star and professional doubles player Joss Rae is one of those coaches.

“My role within the team – having come from playing alongside the girls to now sitting on the other side of it – is to keep spirits high, be there for Anne [Keothavong] and of course the players, and generally act as a morale officer!

“The whole week in Bath was amazing, particularly working together and watching the girls boss it,” Joss said. “One thing that stood out for me was hearing the crowd for the first time on the opening day of match action and watching the girls inspire people through their performances.”

By defeating Slovenia (3-0), Greece (3-0), Hungary (2-0) and Serbia (2-0), the Brits reached April’s play-offs for a remarkable fifth time in the last eight years. The LTA’s Head of Women’s Tennis Iain Bates has played a pivotal part in the team’s progress, travelling the globe and offering invaluable support alongside the team’s captain Anne Keothavong and former captain Judy Murray.

“The support we received over the four days in Bath was second to none. The noise, the energy and the experience of playing at home for the first time in 26 years – as well as winning of course – was just incredible,” he said.

The team narrowly missed out in last year’s World Group II Play-Offs when they fell in a deciding doubles rubber to Japan. Iain hopes this time will be different with home advantage on the team’s side. “I’m most looking forward to having another opportunity to reach World Group II, this time at home, at an iconic venue with over 5000 fans making noise and supporting the team.

“So much goes into getting the players on the court, it really is a team effort,” Iain added.

Back the Brits

Tickets to the Fed Cup World Group II Play-Off are now on sale. Make some noise and cheer on the team – all tickets can be purchased online and are available from as little as £6 for children and £12 for adults. 

Fed Cup: East London venue confirmed for April’s World Group II Play-Off

East London is to stage an international team tennis tie for the first ever time. The Copper Box Arena at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be the venue for the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II Play-Off. The tie will see Great Britain battling it out against Kazakhstan from 20-21 April, with GB aiming to return to the World Group for the first time since 1993.

Taking the tie to the Hackney venue is a key part of the LTA’s new strategy to open up tennis to new audiences and areas, through showcasing the GB women’s team and bringing world-class tennis to new and existing British fans. It is only the fourth time in 24 home ties that a Fed Cup or Davis Cup has been staged in the capital, and never before in East London.

The announcement was made at a visit to Clapton Girls Academy in Hackney by LTA Chief Executive Scott Lloyd and GB Fed Cup Captain Anne Keothavong, who herself grew up in Hackney. The pair played tennis and took questions from Year Nine Pupils at the school. The tennis programme at Clapton Girls Academy is part of an East London schools project supported by a partnership between the LTA and charity Greenhouse Sports, using tennis coaching and mentoring to empower young people who are facing disadvantage and help them unlock their full potential.

Who said what?

Scott Lloyd, LTA CEO:

“We are very proud to bring our Fed Cup tie against Kazakhstan to East London. Building on the success of the 2012 Olympic Games, we are hoping the backdrop of an iconic venue like the Copper Box will spur our team onto victory. We want to enable as many fans as possible to attend and give new audiences the opportunity to experience the thrill of live tennis and support our GB team’s bid to reach the world group level of the Fed Cup for the first time since 1993.”

Anne Keothavong, Great Britain’s Fed Cup Captain:

“It’s very special to come back to my home borough of Hackney. Having grown up and started playing tennis here, I never dreamt that one day I would be coming back and leading the British team in what is the world cup of women’s team tennis. It just goes to show the power of sport and demonstrates to these young women what can be achieved if you work hard. Looking ahead to April, words can’t describe the sense of anticipation we are going to have playing our first World Group Play-Off at home having played the last four away. Home support makes such a massive difference in sport and we saw the impact the GB fans had in getting the team over the line in Bath recently. For the fans, I’m hoping that seeing our players perform with all they have got will inspire the next generation of kids to get out there and get involved with tennis.”

Lyn Garner, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation: 

“We are thrilled to be hosting the Fed Cup and we look forward to welcoming thousands of tennis fans to the Copper Box Arena. It’s yet another fantastic sporting event taking place at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.” 

Russ Barnes, Partnership Manager of Copper Box Arena, GLL:

“We are delighted to be hosting the Fed Cup. With the 2012 heritage, Copper Box Arena is in the heart of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and it is great that we can continue our sporting tradition. We look forward to hosting this exciting event in April.”

Back the Brits!

Make some noise and watch the Brits at the Copper Box Arena - tickets will go on sale next week. Find out more about ticket offers today!

For the latest news about the Fed Cup, keep an eye out on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Fever-Tree Championships: Champion Cilic Returns; Tsitsipas Makes His Bow

Marin Cilic will defend his Fever-Tree Championships title and Stefanos Tsitsipas will compete at The Queen’s Club for the first time, 17 - 23 June.

As tickets went on general sale, Cilic and Tsitsipas added their names to those of British No.1 Kyle Edmund and five-time champion Andy Murray, who has a career-long commitment to play on the grass at Queen’s and will advise on his fitness status nearer the time. 

Cilic, who also won the title in 2012, said: “Winning the Fever-Tree Championships last year was one of the highlights of my career. It was a close final and fightback against Novak (Djokovic), and came after I was narrowly beaten by Feliciano (Lopez) in the final a year earlier. I have always loved playing at The Queen’s Club, and it will be a special feeling to try to defend my title in 2019.”

I am looking forward to having my own chance to compete on grass for the title

Tsitsipas, the 20-year-old World No.11, said: ‘I am really excited to be coming to The Queen’s Club to play the Fever-Tree Championships for the first time. I have heard so much about this club, so many great champions have lifted the trophy over more than a hundred years, and I am looking forward to having my own chance to compete on grass for the title in June.’

Tournament Director Stephen Farrow was delighted to add Cilic and Tsitsipas to the field.

Farrow said: “Marin has played the Fever-Tree Championships throughout his career, ever since being given a wild card at the age of 18. It will be fantastic to see him defend the title he fought so hard to win in that brilliant final against Novak Djokovic last year. 

“Every year we try to put together a mix of established champions and rising young stars, and Stefanos was at the top of our list when it came to adding new names to the line-up in 2019. He won the ATP NextGen Finals last year, cut through the Australian Open draw to reach the semifinals and backed it up with a title in Marseille last week. He connects with fans wherever he goes and we can’t wait to see him on grass at The Queen’s Club.”

Get tickets to watch Cilic and Tsitsipas!

General Sale is now open for the Fever-Tree Championships - buy your tickets today to watch the action courtside.

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