Great Britain captain Anne Keothavong has urged her full-strength team to put women’s tennis on the map in this country by making long-overdue progress in the Fed Cup – starting this week.
Britain have spent 24 years trying in vain to achieve promotion from the Europe/Africa Zone – the competition’s third tier – and are due to resume their attempts on Wednesday in Estonia.
In Keothavong’s favour is the presence of in-form world No10 Johanna Konta, who is joined in Tallinn by former top-40 players Heather Watson and Laura Robson, and the GB skipper hopes her team can follow the success of their male counterparts in the Davis Cup last week.
“Hopefully Jo’s success and the way she goes about it will inspire the other girls. They can definitely learn a lot from her,” she said, ahead of their first match against Portugal.
“There are only eight teams in the Fed Cup World Group whereas Davis Cup has 16 so it will take us a few years to get there, but we can certainly put women’s tennis on the map in this country.”
Turkey and Latvia are also in Great Britain’s group for the round-robin stage, with the winners progressing to a play-off on Saturday, where Croatia look the most likely opponents.
The victors in that tie reach April’s World Group II play-offs, the gateway to the competition’s second tier.