By Naomi Cavaday
- British No. 1 Johanna Konta withdrew with the squad with an intestinal problem
- Katie Swan is the World No. 3 Junior, and Freya Christie also joins the team
- GB will face Georgia and South Africa in Euro/Africa Zone Group 1 in Israel
Great Britain is competing against South Africa and Georgia in the Fed Cup this week looking to earn promotion from Euro/Africa Zone Group 1 up to the World Group.
After such a brilliant but fatiguing run to the semi finals of the Australian Open, British No. 1 Johanna Konta has been forced to withdraw due to an ongoing medical issue.
In a statement from the LTA, she said: “”After having consulted with two doctors, my coach, physio and the LTA, unfortunately I will have to withdraw from the upcoming Fed Cup in Israel.
“I have been advised by the doctors that playing there would jeopardise an ongoing intestinal issue that got progressively worse through the Australian Open.
“This comes as a big disappointment to me and I regret not being able to play. I have represented GB every time I have been asked to and fully intend to play again given the opportunity in the future.”
British No. 2 Heather Watson will bring some much needed experience to the team as she leads them at number one, and it will be a Fed Cup debut for 16-year-old Katie Swan in the number two singles spot. Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith will compete in the doubles rubber.
Swan has not been on the scene for long but she has already achieved a WTA ranking of 513 less than a year after peaking at No. 2 in the junior rankings. After receiving a wild card in to qualifying for Wimbledon this year Swan didn’t let her lack of experience knock her confidence and brushed aside 25-year-old Kristina Kucova, who has been ranked as highly as 103. Swan executes a relentless well rounded game with no huge weaknesses that might leave her vulnerable. Equally she does not yet possess a big weapon that can help knock players off the court quickly, but she is consistently aggressive in her striking using her effective serve to keep her on the front foot. There is still a lot of room for improvement in Swan’s game which will come mostly with experience, and representing her country in Fed Cup this week with Judy Murray on her bench will help to keep her on track to fulfilling her potential.
18-year-old Freya Christie also joins the squad to gain experience after she broke in to the top 400 last year. Christie has no titles to her name, but an impressive run to the final of a $25,000 event in November last year showed her potential to be competing in the top 250 soon. Christie plays a game that is packed full of weapons using her height to deliver big serves and powerful hitting from the baseline. She will need to work on her movement but it will never be a strength of such a tall athlete, however with weapons like those, her opponents will be doing the running.
GB will play South Africa on 4 February, and Georgia on 5 February.
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