Emma Raducanu ‘ready to lead’ Great Britain in Billie Jean King Cup, says Anne Keothavong


Emma Raducanu
With sickness and harm hampering her, Emma Raducanu has solely received two matches in 2022
Dates: 15-16 April Venue: Czech Lawn Tennis Club, Prague
Coverage: Live streaming on BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button & BBC Sport app, every day dwell textual content commentaries on-line

Emma Raducanu is prepared to “embrace her place” as chief of a new-look Great Britain staff after they face the Czech Republic in the Billie Jean King Cup, says captain Anne Keothavong.

US Open champion Raducanu, 19, assumes the position in a younger squad which, for the primary time since 2010, is with out both Johanna Konta or Heather Watson.

Raducanu is joined by Harriet Dart, Katie Swan and Sonay Kartal.

“It looks like a brand new period. I’m excited in regards to the staff,” mentioned Keothavong.

World quantity 12 Raducanu is the highest-ranked participant in the British staff – and the highest-profile – after her swift rise to changing into a Grand Slam champion in New York final September.

The best-of-five tie, which might be performed on out of doors clay in Prague, sees two singles matches on Friday, adopted by two extra on Saturday and one doubles rubber if wanted.

But, in one other reminder of her fast progress contained in the previous 12 months, Raducanu is ready to play her first senior match on clay, in addition to making her debut in the Billie Jean King Cup.

Raducanu, who received the US Open on Flushing Meadows’ onerous courts and likewise reached the final 16 on the Wimbledon grass final 12 months, mentioned clay might show to be her “greatest floor”.

“I really feel like I might love the longer factors – constructing it, having the time on the ball to actually be aggressive,” she mentioned.

Raducanu will assume the mantle because the staff’s new chief in the absence of former world quantity 4 Konta, who retired on the finish of final season, and 29-year-old Watson.

Watson, who has dropped exterior of the world’s high 100, determined to skip the tie in order to concentrate on enhancing her singles rating.

“I suppose rather a lot has occurred over the previous 12 months and clearly Emma’s success has been highlighted and we have seen what she’s been in a position to obtain in such a brief house of time,” mentioned Keothavong.

“So we’re sort of stepping into the unknown a bit bit, and there was a little bit of a altering of the guard.

“I’m positive Emma will embrace her place, lead the staff by instance and actually develop in that position in the years to come.”

Dart, 25, performs in the primary rubber on Friday in opposition to 2019 French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova, earlier than Raducanu faces world quantity 50 Tereza Martincova.

The Czech Republic, who’ve received the competitors six instances since 2011, are with out their three highest-ranked gamers – Barbora Krejcikova, Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova.

Katerina Siniakova, one other top-50 participant who’s the world primary in doubles, additionally misses out by means of harm.

The winners will qualify for November’s finals, whereas the runners-up will face a play-off tie in the identical week.

However, Britain are among the many nations bidding to host the finals and will additionally nonetheless qualify because the host nation.

While Dart and Swan are acquainted faces to British tennis followers, 20-year-old Kartel might be unknown to many. She acquired the call-up from Keothavong after successful 4 of her previous six ITF occasions.

“In Harriet and Katie we have two gamers who’ve been a part of the staff in the previous in order that they know what the expectations are,” mentioned Keothavong.

“They will convey good vitality to the staff and in Sonay, we have somebody who, in contrast to the opposite gamers, does not have that have.

“But I’ve been actually excited with what I’ve seen together with her and the outcomes she’s had this 12 months.

“If she retains working onerous that rating is barely going to go a technique.”

How to watch on the BBC

Friday fifteenth April: 11:00-15:00 – BBC iPlayer, Red Button and BBC Sport app

Saturday sixteenth April: 10:30-16:30 – BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport app

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