Emma Raducanu: Anne Keothavong on US Open champion and qualifying for GB’s Billie Jean King Cup in Prague | Tennis News

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Billie Jean King Cup captain Anne Keothavong talks upcoming qualifier against the Czech Republic, how Emma Raducanu’s US Open success surprised everyone, Harriet Dart climbed into the Top 100 and highly rated young Brit Sonay Kartal has made progress

Last update: 04/14/22 06:23

Emma Raducanu's success at last year's US Open shocked Billie Jean King Cup captain Anne Keothavong and the tennis world

Emma Raducanu’s success at last year’s US Open shocked Billie Jean King Cup captain Anne Keothavong and the tennis world

Billie Jean King Cup captain Anne Keothavong admits ‘no one expected Emma Raducanu to do what she did in New York so soon’ as Britain gear up for qualification massive against the Czech Republic.

Raducanu will make his singles debut in the squad which also includes Harriet Dart, Katie Swan and Sonay Kartal for the tie to be held away on clay from April 15-16.

Keothavong will look to 19-year-old Raducanu to show off some of the qualities she displayed on the biggest stage when she won the US Open women’s singles title on her debut.

Raducanu’s New York fairy tale is something that brings back fond memories for Keothavong, who admits she didn’t expect the Kent teenager to achieve such phenomenal success at a Grand Slam if early in his fledgling career.

“We all knew she had great talent. She had a promising career ahead of her, but I don’t think anyone expected her to do what she did in New York so soon,” said said Keothavong. sky sports.

“I think it took all of tennis by surprise and it’s something that’s a fantastic story that we should continue to celebrate because I’m not sure we’ll ever see something like that again.”

While 14-year-old Mimi Xu made a name for herself after winning the LTA National Under-18 Junior Championships, Keothavong remains highly optimistic about the future of British tennis.

She said: “What’s happening on the men’s side is brilliant and Emma’s success on the women’s side has been inspiring.

“Tennis is more popular than ever and I hope there will be more young children who will be inspired by the success of Britain’s best tennis players and we will have a bigger pool of talent to choose from in the future. “

The Czechs are the second most successful team in Billie Jean King Cup history, having won the title 11 times.

Although they are without a number of top players and world No. 2 Barbora Krejcikova, they will still prove formidable strength at home with Marketa Vondrousova, Katerina Siniakov, Karolina Muchova and Tereza Martincova forming a solid squad.

As well as Raducanu, Keothavong will have Britain’s newest Top 100 member in Dart, who qualified for the last 16 at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells last month.

Dart worked alongside experienced coach Nigel Sears, who oversaw Raducanu’s fourth-round run at Wimbledon last year.

“It was great to see. She did a good job of stringing together all those games and she finished well. The conditions suited her perfectly and when she’s in the right frame of mind she’s a tough opponent for n ‘anyone there,’ said the skipper.

“Once you get into the top 100, it’s a big milestone and it’s been a long time for Harriet to happen, so I’m thrilled to see her reach the top 100.

“Now she just needs to keep building. It’s about taking those opportunities and now that her ranking is higher, hopefully getting into some of the bigger events will be easier.

“It is hoped that it will have guaranteed main draw status at Roland Garros and potentially at Wimbledon.”

Kartal is also part of the Keothavong team, who has faced Raducanu since he was nine years old.

Having already won back-to-back ITF titles this season, the 20-year-old from Brighton has climbed to world number 370 but will be a wild card to make her debut.

“She’s improved a lot. She’s been to a lot of UK Pro-League tournaments over the last year which has allowed her to travel and compete more and she’s been able to gain confidence. Huge progress and she’s a talented young player,” said Keothavong.

“I think she is much better than her current ranking. If she continues to work hard and do what she does with her team, I see no reason why the ranking can’t accelerate even more, sooner. .”

The winners of the playoffs will advance to the Billie Jean King Cup final in November (the location has yet to be announced), while the losers will face off in the 2023 playoffs.

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