|Venue: Copper Field Area, London Dates: 11-12 November.|
|Protection: Streaming and dwell textual content protection throughout BBC Sport web site, app and iPlayer|
Captain Anne Keothavong says Nice Britain can’t underestimate Sweden within the Billie Jean King Cup play-offs regardless of being the heavy favourites.
Britain are absent from the continuing Finals in Seville following their 3-1 loss to France in April’s qualifiers.
They may face Sweden at London’s Copper Field Area in a best-of-five collection throughout Saturday and Sunday.
The winner will progress to subsequent 12 months’s qualifiers, whereas the loser will drop into decrease tier regional occasions.
“I really feel prefer it’s the primary time in a very long time we go into this tie as favourites, however this competitors can mess with individuals’s heads and folks cope with strain in several methods, ” Keothavong advised BBC Sport.
“This time subsequent 12 months, I would love for us to be competing within the Finals once more and I do not see any cause why we will not get there, however we have now to take the steps required. We will not be complacent.”
‘It is no hardship to place in your staff colors’
Keothavong has chosen the 4 highest ranked British singles gamers – Katie Boulter, Jodie Burrage, Harriet Dart and Heather Watson – together with doubles primary Maia Lumsden.
Britain are ranked 14 locations increased than the Swedish staff, whose probabilities of of promotion to the highest tier of the staff occasion have been dented by accidents to their two highest-ranked gamers – world quantity 103 Rebecca Peterson and Mirjam Bjorklund, ranked 163rd.
Johanna Larsson’s facet will likely be represented by 4 gamers who’re all ranked exterior the world’s prime 350 – Kajsa Rinaldo Persson, Caijsa Hennemann, Lisa Zaar, and Bella Bergkvist Larsson.
Boulter turned Emma Raducanu’s successor as British primary in Could, with 2021 US Open champion Raducanu lacking nearly all of the season by damage.
Having claimed her first WTA Tour title at Nottingham in June and reaching the third spherical at each Wimbledon and the US Open, Boulter achieved a career-high rating of fifty in September and Keothavong says she “thrives” as British primary.
Burrage, too, has loved a career-best season and would have loved a spell as British primary had she defeated Boulter within the ultimate of the Nottingham Open – her maiden WTA ultimate.
Lumsden – “the quietest member on the staff”, in line with Keothavong – has made her mark in doubles.
In July, the 25-year-old Scot and Naiktha Bains turned the first British girls’s doubles pair to succeed in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon since 1983.
Whereas Burrage and Lumsden might make their Billie Jean King Cup debuts, “stalwart” Heather Watson might play her thirty sixth tie within the girls’s staff occasion.
Keothavong mentioned final 12 months’s run to the semi-finals confirmed the skilled Watson and Dart, who received her first ITF-level title since 2018 this 12 months, are in a position to “rise to the event when wanted”.
Regardless of the match arriving on the finish of a protracted season, Keothavong will not be frightened about her staff’s motivation ranges.
“It is no hardship for them to place their staff colors on and go on the market and play and work collectively and luxuriate in one another’s firm,” she mentioned.
“The truth that we have now this chance to play on house soil in entrance of just about close to sell-out crowd – if that does not get you going then I am undecided what else does.”
British tennis’ governing physique the LTA is anticipating a full home with Saturday’s 5,560 tickets offered out, whereas there are solely a restricted variety of tickets accessible for Sunday’s motion.
‘One thing I might solely dream of’
The Copper Field Area is a venue that holds fond reminiscences for the British facet.
It’s the place they ended a 26-year anticipate promotion to the world tier of the Billie Jean King Cup with a 3-1 win over Kazakhstan in 2019.
And for Keothavong, captaining her facet on the Copper Field Area is especially “particular” having grown up in close by Hackney.
“It is laborious to essentially articulate or clarify that to others who did not develop up on this space understanding what this place appeared like as a child and the way it’s remodeled,” the 40-year-old mentioned.
“To have the ability to convey tennis, dwell tennis, prime quality girls’s tennis to this a part of London is simply one thing as a toddler I might have solely dreamt of.”
Former British primary Keothavong is decided to not slip again into the decrease regional tier, particularly after Nice Britain reached the final 4 of the Finals in Glasgow final 12 months.
“What we did in Glasgow final 12 months actually put everybody on the radar as a staff,” she mentioned.
“The staff spirit, the best way we gelled, the best way the gamers had been in a position to rise to the event I believe stood out and shocked lots of people, so expectations are excessive.
“We all know we will compete with the easiest. We have simply obtained to take the steps to get there once more.”
What’s the format?
Britain’s tie with Sweden is one in all eight play-off ties going down, with the winners advancing to the qualifying spherical for the 2024 Finals and the losers dropping into the regional Group I stage – the extent under the highest world tier of the competitors.
Every play-off tie is a best-of-five collection – with 4 singles matches adopted by a deciding doubles match if wanted.
How one can watch the Billie Jean King Cup play-offs
All of Nice Britain’s matches in opposition to Sweden will likely be streamed on the BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport web site from 14:00 GMT on Saturday and 12:00 GMT on Sunday.