Judy Murray: GB in a strong position
Originally published on: 05/02/13 00:00
The British team are in Group B of the Europe/Africa Zone Group I event held in Israel this weekend.
Murray's quartet of Heather Watson, Laura Robson, Anne Keothavong and Johanna Konta kick off their campaign against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Wednesday before ties against Portugal and Hungary.
Should they make it through the round-robin stage unscathed, the team will play the winners of Group D, which consists of Slovenia, Netherlands, Bulgaria and Luxembourg, in a bid to reach the World Group II play-offs.
While the team remains largely unchanged from 12 months ago – Konta replaces Elena Baltacha, who has traveled with the team in a non-playing role as she recovers from foot surgery – the dynamic has shifted as Robson and Watson enjoyed breakthrough seasons in 2012.
Watson won her first WTA title in October, while Robson reached her first final and the fourth round of the US Open in September. Ranked at 41 and 45 respectively, Murray believes the greater experience of her top two players will stand GB in good stead.
What’s more, Britain have avoided Agnieszka Radwanska’s Poland, as well as Romania, who have four players ranked inside the world’s top 60.
“I think the draw has probably been quite kind to us, there are other teams that we would have hoped to avoid and we have actually managed to avoid them, not just in the group but also should we get through into the playoffs,” Murray said.
“With the format being just two singles and one double if you come up against a team with a very strong No.1 – like Radwanska, a top five player – then that can mean a very difficult obstacle to overcome.
“We are in a very strong position. We have three young players in the team in Laura, Heather and Jo – they are very much on the way up and we have the incredible experience of Anne and Bally who have played so many Fed Cup ties and are just wonderful professionals and they are great role models for the youngsters to be around.
“We have a super blend of youth and experience, so it’s a great platform and a great opportunity for us to move forward.”