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Keothavong warns players there is no room for mistakes in Fed Cup tie

Keothavong warns players there is no room for mistakes in Fed Cup tie
By PA Sport

05/02/2019 at 16:20Updated 05/02/2019 at 17:33

Great Britain last played in front of a home crowd in 1993.

Great Britain captain Anne Keothavong has warned there is no room for mistakes as the team prepare for a first home Fed Cup tie for 26 years.

A sell-out crowd is expected at the University of Bath for the Europe/Africa Group I round-robin competition which will feature eight nations.

Britain last featured on home soil in Nottingham during 1993 and are aiming to win promotion back up to the World Group II, having suffered numerous defeats at the play-off stage. In April 2018, they were beaten in the deciding rubber by Japan.

Keothavong’s squad comes from the top five ranked British players – number one Johanna Konta, along with Heather Watson, 19-year-old Katie Swan and Katie Boulter while Harriet Dart will make her Fed Cup debut.

Slovenia are the first opponents in Group A on February 6, followed by Greece and then Hungary.

There is little recovery time between ties, which consist of two singles and a doubles match, spread over three days, with the eventual group winners facing each other to secure a shot at the playoffs.

Britain came up short in both 2012 and 2013, as well as 2017 and then against Japan last year, having at one stage led the tie 2-1.

Despite the lift of playing in front of a partisan home crowd, Keothavong accepts it will be another case of win or bust.

“There is no room for mistakes, it is pretty straightforward – beat every nation you are up against and you go through. Lose and there’s nothing for another year,” Keothavong said in an interview with BBC Sport.

“Mentally it’s tough on the players, coming out each day, the recovery, doing it all over again.

“Intensity levels are high, pressure is high, you just can’t underestimate any of those factors. It’s a brutal format.”

Keothavong, who retired in July 2013, knows just how much the squad are determined to deliver this time around.

“The team put so much into this competition and they really want to do well,” the 35-year-old said.

“Despite things not going as well as we would like in those playoff matches, we’re still able to field a full-strength team and that says it all – they are back and they are hungry for more.”