Anne Keothavong to succeed Judy Murray as GB Fed Cup captain

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - FEBRUARY 03:  Captain, Judy Murray watches on with coach Anne Keothavong in a practice session during previews for the Fed Cup Europe/Africa Group One tennis at Syma Event and Congress Centre on February 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images for LTA)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - FEBRUARY 03: Captain, Judy Murray watches on with coach Anne Keothavong in a practice session during previews for the Fed Cup Europe/Africa Group One tennis at Syma Event and Congress Centre on February 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images for LTA)
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Anne Keothavong is to succeed Judy Murray as Great Britain’s Fed Cup captain.

Murray stepped down in March to focus on her grass-roots programmes and her family after becoming increasingly frustrated by the format of the competition.

Former British No 1 Keothavong was a Fed Cup stalwart for Britain, with her 40 ties between 2001 and 2013 only bettered by Virginia Wade.

The 33-year-old, who has also been named senior national women’s coach, said: “I’m delighted and honoured to accept this position in the sport that I love.

“What a privilege it’s been to see all the British success on the court over the last couple of years, especially this last 12 months. But success doesn’t just happen, it takes hard work, dedication, commitment and a desire to continually do better.

“I really look forward to working with everyone in British Tennis: the performance and coaching teams at the LTA and of course the players as we aim to raise the bar even higher.”

Murray spent five years in the role but was unable to guide Britain out of the regional zone and into the World Group.

Unlike in Davis Cup, the home and away format is only played in the World Group, leaving Britain stuck in a low-key round-robin event staged each February.

The contrast with Britain’s high-profile Davis Cup ties over the last few years could not have been more stark, with Murray having hoped to bring some of the same excitement to the competition.

Murray was also frustrated not to have her best players available at the same time, with Heather Watson and Laura Robson sidelined at times by injury and illness while the last straw was Johanna Konta missing the 2016 tournament.

With Konta now a top-10 player and Robson back fit and working her way slowly up the rankings again, Keothavong looks to be taking over the role at an ideal time.

Watson, ranked 76, can offer good support to Konta while 17-year-old Katie Swan broke Keothavong’s record as Britain’s youngest Fed Cup player earlier this year.

Keothavong has the potential advantage of having played with most of her squad, including Konta, pictured, whose commitment to the competition will undoubtedly be 
crucial to Britain’s hopes.

Konta said: “I think Anne is a great choice as our next GB Fed Cup captain. She will lead from real life experience because she was a winner on court and she knew what it took to step up and play for her country. I wish her the best and look forward to the 2017 campaign.”

Keothavong, who reached a career-high ranking of 48 in 2009, will travel to the Australian Open in preparation for next year’s Fed Cup Europe/Africa Zone Group 1 tournament, which will be staged in Tallinn, Estonia from February 7-12.

In her role as senior coach, Keothavong will work with the Lawn Tennis Association’s head of women’s tennis, 
Jeremy Bates.