British tennis’ number one Anne Keothavong will lead Great Britain into Fed Cup action next February as things are finally starting to look up for the women’s game in Britain.
It’s been a great year for the 25-year-old, who saw her ranking rise to an all-time high of 60th in the world. The last British woman to be ranked in the world top 100 before Keothavong was Sam Smith, but that was almost a decade ago in 1999.
She became the first British woman to qualify for Wimbledon without a wild-card since 1998 and made it to the second round before being knocked out by the eventual champion, Venus Williams 7-5 6-2, despite a gutsy performance.
She will be joined at the competition in Estonia by fellow team-mates Mel South, Elena Baltacha and Sarah Borwell.
With Keothavong looking to work her way up the rankings in 2009 and the promising young talent of Laura Robson – who won the Girl’s Singles title at Wimbledon this year aged just 14 – the future is certainly looking brighter for British women’s tennis.
Fed Cup team captain, Nigel Sears says choosing the team was difficult because of the talent available to him.
“It’s been a great year for the girls at the top end of the British game. I felt almost spoilt for choice in picking the team to travel to Estonia.
“With Anne Keothavong being ranked 60 in the world and Mel South being right on the edge of the top 100, we are straight away in a stronger position than last year.”
Keothavong will travel to Australia shortly to begin her preparation for the 2009 season and the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open.
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BIOGRAPHY: Georginio Wijnaldum