Great Britain turn focus to building on impressive Billie Jean King Cup showing

Sign up to our free sport newsletter for all the latest news on everything from cycling to boxing

Sign up to our free sport email for all the latest news

Thanks for signing up to the
Sport email

Great Britain were still digesting their Billie Jean King Cup near miss as thoughts turned to next year and building on a hugely positive week in Glasgow.

Britain were four points away from defeating Australia and booking their place in Sunday’s final at the Emirates Arena but doubles duo Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls were pipped by Storm Sanders and Sam Stosur.

As well as a final against Switzerland, Australia’s prize was also a free passage through to next year’s finals, while Britain were handed a home qualifier against France in April.

Having stepped in late as hosts of the event and seen the country outperform expectations by making the last four, there is interest from the Lawn Tennis Association in reprising the role in 12 months’ time.

First the governing body must assess the financial picture from this year but costs were reduced by staging the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup in the same venue and attendances were not disastrous.

Recommended



Finding associations willing to host the finals has proved a major headache for the International Tennis Federation so far and there is again the unsatisfactory situation of the draw for the qualifiers having been made before the home nation – who are awarded a wild card – is known.

Britain lost their qualifier to the Czech Republic this year only to later be reinstated in the competition.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of their presence in Glasgow, Anne Keothavong’s side proved they can compete with the world’s leading nations, improbably defeating Spain 3-0 to reach the last four and pushing Australia all the way.

The standout performers were Harriet Dart, who defeated two much higher ranked players in Paula Badosa and Ajla Tomljanovic, and previously unheralded doubles pair Barnett and Nicholls.

Dart has had the best season of her career, breaking into the top 100 and beating eight top-50 players.

She’s capable of playing some fantastic tennis.

Currently ranked 98, the 26-year-old said: “For sure this has definitely given me a lot of confidence going into next year. To be able to play great and then do it again also shows me that it’s not by chance. It’s the continued work. Keep plugging away and good things can happen.

“You know you’re going to have ups and downs through the year and it’s just about remaining positive and having a really good outlook long term and a plan, and I feel like I have gained yards with that this year.”

Keothavong sees no reason why Dart cannot significantly improve her ranking in 2023, saying: “She’s capable of playing some fantastic tennis. She’s had her fair share of big wins. But I guess for her it’s about producing it on a week in, week out basis.

“Harriet has been a great example to everyone this week. I do think sometimes she doesn’t get the credit she deserves but, gosh, she is such a tough competitor.”

Keothavong will hope she can call on a fit Emma Raducanu in April while Barnett and Nicholls have shown this week that Britain now have a women’s doubles team who absolutely merit their place in the team.

Recommended



The university graduates brought quality and infectious enthusiasm and, having climbed from outside the top 300 to the verge of the top 50 in 2022, have set their sights on a place at the WTA Finals next year.

Nicholls said: “I think we have proven that our level is there and, once we have the opportunity to play those high level tournaments week in and week out, I don’t see why we can’t have an excellent year next year.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

{{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}}

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

{{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}}

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Source: Read Full Article