Johanna Konta and Heather Watson will lead Great Britain’s Fed Cup team when they enter a World Group II playoff against Japan next week.
Konta and Watson stand out as the two highest ranked British singles players on the WTA tour, and as such the pair will play the singles rubbers between them in Miki.
Having not played in the World Group since 1993, the opportunity for Britain’s team to return to elite company will mean the occasion holds a certain air of tension.
With a defeat, the squad would return to the Europe/Africa zonal grouping. And that’s not somewhere captain Anne Keothavong wants to be:
It’s been a great effort to get out of this zone and I don’t want to be back here next year.
Britain made it to this stage last year, but fell short in a 3-2 defeat against Romania.
Previous defeats in the playoff came in 2012 and 2013, to Sweden and Argentina respectively.
Joining Konta and Watson will be doubles specialist Anna Smith, and making her Fed Cup debut will be 20-year-old Gabi Taylor.
Keothavong continued, saying:
I am delighted to name our strongest possible team. We have been so close since 2012 and hopefully the fourth will be a charm.