By Ros Satar, in Bath

  • GB beat Slovenia 3-0 in first Fed Cup home tie in 26 years
  • Will face Greece on Thursday afternoon
BATH, UK – Team GB captain Anne Keothavong shared her thoughts on the first day’s results as GB delivered a comprehensive win over Slovenia on day one of the Fed Cup Europe/Africa Group I event.

 

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Katie Boulter makes her mark

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British No. 2 Katie Boulter made a successful singles debut as GB kicked off their Fed Cup campaign on home soil for the first time in 26 years.

 

READ MORE | Tennis | Fed Cup Group I | Boulter ‘rises to the occasion’ to give GB a lead

 

Team captain Anne Keothavong had nothing but praise for Boulter whose assured performance set Great Britain on their way.

She said: “I thought Katie Boulter was brilliant, Making her singles debut in front of a home crowd and getting the win – that’s something special. Again, once she got through those games she managed to settle, and she was just a stronger player. She has improved so much over the past 12 months and I really believe 2019 will be a special year for her.”

 

Johanna Konta displays nerves of steel to hand GB a tie win over Slovenia

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One of the most experienced members of the team had to keep her nerve as Johanna Konta battled through a tough first set before easing to another straight sets victory over Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic.

 

READ MORE | Tennis | Fed Cup Group I | Konta keeps calm and caries on as she seals win for GB

 

Keothavong said: She did a great job to come through that first set, It wasn’t easy but Jo’s the ultimate pro. She’s focused, she’s been there, she knows how to do it. Someone like her you have to respect she knows what she’s doing. It’s important for me that I sit there not saying too much and allow my emotions to get the better of me and everything that’s going on and she closed out the match really well. She came through strong in that second set.”

 

Keothavong was very much a stalwart of the Fed Cup team in her playing days, having also played alongside Konta and Watson, and so works on her approaches with the players to suit their needs.

She explained: “We go through stuff like before the match and in the build-up as well we talk a lot about how, what each player wants from me, how they want me to behave and I try and adapt to each player. Some players like more feedback, more than others but there are key words, cue words that we use. It’s sticking to that and Jo, she was pretty calm out there. She had fantastic support from the crowd, but she was in the zone and you just have to trust that she knows what she’s doing and she’s going to fight through.”

 

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Heather Watson still could have a role this week

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One person missing from the bench and line-up for the first tie was Britain’s most experienced competitor on the team, Heather Watson. As one of the team’s strongest doubles players, Watson’s absence meant Harriet Dart made a winning debut, partnering up with Katie Swan, with the Bristol girl enjoying the home support.

Keothavong explained: “Heather hasn’t been well, so she’s been back at the hotel recovering. I’d like to see her play a part in this team. She’s been a pivotal part of this team for a number of years now and she’s gutted not to be there supporting her team-mates on today, but she needs to do what she has to do to get fit. Maybe we’ll see her.

“Heather and Jo have the experience. They’ve been part of this Fed Cup for some time and they know what to do but we have options on the team. Harriet Dart is a very capable doubles player. Katie Boulter perhaps doesn’t play as much doubles as the others, but she is equally very good in the doubles court, and Jo is always ready to step in if needed.

“We’ve got Katie Swan, who’s the youngest member of the team who’s still learning, but we’ve played, we’ve practiced lots of different combos and there are options depending on the situation. I’m hopeful. She was on the practice court with us yesterday, we thought she was getting better but it wasn’t the case. She just needs time to recover and get herself in the best shape possible.

“She’s still with us, she’s still very much a part of this tie and I know she’s gutted she wasn’t out there, able to support the rest of the team today. But she’s desperate to play a part in this home tie, as are all the other girls, and I’m sure she’ll be doing her absolute best to be fit.”

Great Britain will face Greece on Thursday, with play scheduled on Centre Court not before 4:30pm.

 

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