The nation’s leading female tennis players look set to descend on the University of Bath next February as the Sports Training Village has been named by British Tennis as a host venue for February’s Fed Cup, by BNP Paribas.
Johanna Konta, Heather Watson, Anna Smith, Jocelyn Rae and others have all appeared in recent Europe/Africa zone Fed Cup ties for Great Britain as the country strives to gain that elusive promotion to World Group II of the event.
Last time round, GB missed out on promotion during an away-tie in Japan and British Tennis is hopeful that home advantage in the eight-nation event from February 6-9 2019 will be just the boost the team needs.
Scott Lloyd, LTA Chief Executive, said: “I’m thrilled that the International Tennis Federation has awarded us the opportunity to co-host the Europe/Africa Zone Group I stage of the 2019 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas. Staging this Fed Cup tie forms a key part of our new strategy to open up tennis by showcasing our women’s team and bringing world-class tennis to new and existing British fans.”
Team Bath Tennis, based in the University’s £30 million Sports Training Village, is already a centre of excellence for the sport and the eight-court indoor hall will be transformed with spectator seating for the event.
Young tennis players at the University of Bath train alongside world and Olympic champions across multiple sports as well as top tennis names like Davis Cup player Liam Broady, Anna Smith and Samantha Murray, the latter two having represented Great Britain in Fed Cup.
Understandably, British Tennis’ announcement provoked excitement at a venue which also features a growing participation programme as well as successful student teams and a junior academy.
“We have been bubbling over since we heard the news,” said the University’s Director of Sport Stephen Baddeley. “There is still a lot of detailed planning to be done but the ITF and LTA has shown confidence in our venue to deliver an important showcase for the sport and we, and the people of Bath, won’t let them down. The West Country does not often win bids to host events like this and we are hugely proud to be selected.”
LTA Director of Competitions and International Events, Stephen Farrow said: “We are delighted to be bringing the Fed Cup to Bath. The University offers world-class facilities and we are confident it will be an excellent venue for our British players and the seven teams joining us in the competition. It also has a proud sporting tradition, with the hugely successful Team Bath Netball team, and we are excited to see the support that the University, the city and the region give to the first professional tennis event in the region since 1989.”
Great Britain will play in one of two round-robin group of four nations from the Europe/Africa zone and the winner of the group will then play the winner of the other group in a deciding contest in a finale to the event. Only the winner of this final match will go into World Group II.
Great Britain has never won the Fed Cup title but has reached the final on four occasions, finishing runners-up in 1967, ‘70, ‘72 and ’81. Great Britain is one of only four nations to have competed in every Fed Cup competition.
Further information on scheduling of the events, the nations who will feature and how to buy tickets will appear here: https://www.lta.org.uk/major-tennis-events/international-events/fed-cup/