|Venue: Nationwide Tennis Centre, Roehampton Dates: 16-17 April|
|Protection: Watch reside protection on BBC Pink Button and BBC Sport web site & app (Friday 14:00-18:00 BST; Saturday 11:30-1500 and 16:15-19:00)|
Even Billie Jean King herself has not received used to the title of the match that now bears her title.
And that’s removed from the one change Nice Britain can even need to get used to as they put together to face Mexico in a Billie Jean King Cup play-off with out followers or Johanna Konta or the same old karaoke periods they loved when it was often called the Fed Cup.
British primary Konta is lacking the two-day tie as she continues to handle a long-standing knee downside by avoiding switching between surfaces. This indoor hard-court tie falls throughout a interval of preparations for the clay-court season.
In her absence, Nice Britain captain Anne Keothavong will depend on the skilled Heather Watson to encourage the workforce who’re heavy favourites to win on the Nationwide Tennis Centre in Roehampton.
Victory would put Nice Britain one win away from qualifying for the 2022 Finals.
What’s the Billie Jean King Cup?
The Fed Cup was renamed the Billie Jean King Cup final yr after the tennis nice and founding father of the Ladies’s Tennis Affiliation (WTA).
The brand new title shouldn’t be tripping off everybody’s tongue but.
“I had the chance to talk to Billie Jean the opposite day and she or he was slipping again and calling it the Fed Cup and Federation Cup as nicely although the occasion is called after her,” Keothavong informed BBC Sport. “So I strive to not really feel too unhealthy once I make that mistake provided that she does the identical factor.”
The ladies’s worldwide workforce competitors has been revamped to function a 12-nation Finals occasion.
The Fed Cup was launched in 1963, with the US its most profitable workforce with 18 titles. Nice Britain have by no means gained it however have been runners-up 4 occasions.
Who’s taking part in for Nice Britain?
Whereas Konta could also be lacking the tie, she will likely be very near the motion as a result of she has been coaching on the Nationwide Tennis Centre on the outside clay courts this week.
“She is a part of the coaching facility that we will not entry and she will be able to’t come anyplace close to our bubble,” Keothavong stated.
In her absence, world quantity 68 Watson is the very best ranked participant within the British workforce.
An skilled Fed Cup participant, who has gained 29 and misplaced 13 of her 42 Fed Cup matches, the 28-year-old can be the top-ranked participant within the tie with Mexico’s Marcela Zacarias the guests’ highest ranked at 285.
“On paper, on rankings, we’re the favourites, there isn’t any skirting round that,” Keothavong stated.
“We have a house tie. Though we can’t be taking part in in entrance of a supportive crowd, we nonetheless have that house benefit. The gamers are conscious of what’s anticipated of them and so they have ready as greatest as doable.”
Katie Swan and Katie Boulter are on comebacks from harm spells, whereas Jodie Burrage has been included within the squad for the primary time.
Staff-building preparations for the tie have been completely different to earlier years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Regardless of not with the ability to participate in a number of the enjoyable video games – whether or not it is karaoke or cornhole or no matter within the night – we’re nonetheless capable of sit socially distanced from one another and speak and catch up,” Keothavong stated.
“Being collectively, sharing tales, having firm, it is very nice in these occasions.”
What’s the format?
The very best-of-five-match tie takes place throughout two days with two singles rubbers on Friday and the reverse singles and a doubles rubber on Saturday.
Play begins at 14:00 BST on Friday and at 11.30 on Saturday. There will likely be a pause within the schedule between 15:00 and 16:15 on Saturday to keep away from a conflict with Prince Philip’s funeral.
Victory would put Nice Britain right into a qualifier subsequent yr the place a win would ship them into the Finals, whereas defeat would consign them to the Europe/Africa zone Group I occasion in 2022.