Anne Keothavong hails Great Britain team after Fed Cup World Group return
Last Updated: 22/04/19 3:25pm
Anne Keothavong says she is in "awe" of Great Britain's Fed Cup players after they won promotion to the competition's World Group II for the first time in 26 years.
The British captain led her side to a return to the top-level of international team tennis in the women's game after comeback victories for Johanna Konta and Katie Boulter earned a 3-1 victory against Kazakhstan.
I'm just totally in awe of these women.
Keothavong had suffered four defeats in World Group play-offs - twice as a player and twice as captain - since 2012 but home advantage, unlike in those near misses, at London's Copper Box proved pivotal.
"Finally. I'm ecstatic. I'm ecstatic for the team," Keothavong said.
"I'm just totally in awe of these women. It was such an incredible effort by everyone. The performances this weekend, the courage they showed out there.
"Jo always performs when it comes to Fed Cup and, with the weight of expectation and pressure, she always finds a way. How she does it, I'm in awe of her. And Katie as well.
"We kept putting ourselves in this position to have a chance of getting through this play-off but I really feel like having home advantage this time made all the difference."
This should be used as a springboard for bigger and better things for all the players.
Keothavong believes Britain's success could act as a perfect confidence boost to the playing squad with the clay court season preceding the grass court campaign, where there is likely to be the inevitable increased focus on performances.
"This should be used as a springboard for bigger and better things for all the players," the former world No 48 added.
"For British women's tennis it's great that we have the strength in depth and I think they need to use it in a positive way."
British No 1 Konta recovered for losing the first set for the second day running as she fought back from 4-1 and two breaks of serve behind to beat Yulia Putintseva 4-6 6-2 7-5 and give the hosts a 2-1 lead.
Boulter then overcame pre-match injury fears over what transpired to be a right hip and lower back concern to prove her fighting spirit on the big stage with a 6-7 (1-7) 6-4 6-1 win against Zarina Diyas to seal the tie.
The British No 2 and Keothavong both admitted they had not slept on Saturday night after Boulter failed to capitalise on three match points in Saturday's match against Putintseva only appeared to act as a source of further motivation.
"It's what we have to do. It's part of tennis," Boulter said.
"We all have good days and bad days and I'm going to fight and I'm going to get up for the next match no matter what the circumstances are. I'm proud of myself today bouncing back like I did."
Konta made her debut in the competition in 2013, and she was relieved and delighted that she was finally part of a side set to compete again among the elite.
"We've been in this position for the last three years, and even before that," she said.
"I've definitely dreamed of wanting to be part of the team that finally is able to get through this hurdle and to battle whatever comes next.
"I'm so proud of everyone."
The format for next season's competition is unknown, with proposals for a 12-team finals in the mould of the revamped Davis Cup reportedly at an advanced stage.
"I think right now it's important for us to enjoy this moment," said Keothavong, who revealed she has not been asked for her thoughts on the matter.
"For a lot of tennis players, it's difficult to enjoy the victory because you're so worried about what's happening the next week. We've worked hard for this and, whatever the ITF decide, will be."
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