Anne Keothavong: Billie Jean Cup in Glasgow will be ‘level up’ for GB players

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Great Britain captain Anne Keothavong believes bringing the Billie Jean Cup to Glasgow will be a “level up” for her players.

The women’s world cup of tennis, previously known as the Fed Cup, will be staged at the Emirates Arena from November 8-13 – the first time the United Kingdom has hosted the event since 1991.

“I’m super-excited for the team that they have this opportunity to be part of these finals on UK soil,” said Keothavong, whose team will, as hosts, compete alongside 11 other nations despite losing to the Czech Republic in April.

“We saw a number of years go when the team had that opportunity at the Copper Box and in Bath how much they loved it and how well supported it was.

“This will be a level up. I personally have never been to any major event in Glasgow and I don’t think any of our team have either, so I’m looking forward to bringing them up.”

Chris Pollard, director of events and digital at the Lawn Tennis Association, believes staging two major events in the same city relatively close together – Glasgow is also hosting a group stage of the Davis Cup in September – will provide a boost to both the sport and the area.

“It is fantastic to take tennis to new audiences outside of the traditional grass-court season and we see this opportunity as a real catalyst for building visibility of tennis in months of the year when otherwise we are not hosting such high-profile tennis events in Britain,” he said.

Great Britain take on the United States in a Davis Cup doubles match in Glasgow
The arena has hosted several Davis Cup ties in previous years (Jeff Holmes/PA)

“It’s an opportunity to reach new audiences and inspire a new generation of women and girls.

“This is a strong legacy event from the Commonwealth Games (in 2014) and will inject strong financial stimulus into the local economy.”

Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Italy, Kazakhstan, Poland, Spain, Slovakia, Switzerland and the United States are the other teams who will compete in four round-robin groups of three, with the group winners qualifying for semi-finals.

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