There were smiles all round for the British contingent as they ended a 26-year wait to return to top-level international team tennis, with Anne Keothavong guiding her troops through the World Group II Play-off at the third time of asking.
Keothavong had been in charge for defeats in Romania and Japan in the past two years but it was a case of third time lucky as Johanna Konta and Katie Boulter fought tooth and nail at the Copper Box Arena in east London.
There was a sense of relief from the former British No. 1, who was also on the losing side at this exact stage twice as a player, to have finally gotten over the line.
Finally! Im ecstatic, Im ecstatic for the team, she said. Im totally in awe of these women. It was such an incredible effort by everyone.
I guess credit to all of them because we kept putting ourselves in this position to have a chance of getting through the play-off match but I really feel having the home advantage this time around made all the difference. It was an incredible atmosphere the whole weekend.
To have finally achieved this together after so long, its definitely a highlight for me.
Britain v Kazakhstan Fed Cup results
Konta 4-6 6-3 6-2 Diyas
Putintseva 3-6 6-2 7-6 Boulter
Konta 4-6 6-2 7-5 Putintseva
Boulter 6-7 6-4 6-1Diyas
Konta won both of her singles matches against Yulia Putintseva and Zarina Diyas and once again proved to be the driving force behind this teams success, but Boulter deserves great credit for the manner in which she recovered from the emotional heartbreak of defeat on Saturday.
Boulter confessed to having a sleepless night after squandering three match points against world No. 38 Putintseva but fought her way back from a set and a break down in heroic fashion on Sunday, using a hot water bottle between changeovers to help her through lower back pain.
I mean its what we have to do, she said. Its part of tennis. You have good days, bad days.
Im going to fight and get up for the next match no matter what the circumstances are. Im proud of myself today for bouncing back like I did.
Konta added: Weve been in this position the last three years in a row and even before that we were in the position quite a few times and Ive definitely dreamt of wanting to be part of a team who finally gets through this hurdle. Im so proud of everyone.
While theres no doubt this was a terrific occasion for the British outfit in a packed arena, there is a sense that this tie may prove to have little bearing on their status next year.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) are set to meet at the French Open to determine whether the competition should be reformatted next season, with a 12-team World Cup style event on the cards.
Konta was unhappy with the suggestion that the teams efforts may have been relatively speaking unimportant in the grand scheme of things, saying: Irrelevant?! Take that back!
Keothavong, though, made a salient point that its too often the case that tennis players are unable to enjoy glorious moments due to future circumstances and wants her side to enjoy the moment.
I think right now its important for all of us to enjoy this moment, Keothavong added.
I think for a lot of tennis players its difficult to enjoy the victory or tournament win or whatever it Read More – Source