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Sport Keothavong eyes Fed Cup upset

20:05  21 april  2017
20:05  21 april  2017 Source:   skysports.com

Nastase investigated by ITF

  Nastase investigated by ITF Romania's Fed Cup captain Ilie Nastase is the subject of an ITF investigation over a comment about Serena Williams' pregnancy.Romania's Fed Cup captain Ilie Nastase is the subject of an International Tennis Federation investigation over a comment about Serena Williams' pregnancy.

— Fed Cup (@ FedCup ) April 21, 2017. Former British No 1 Keothavong has sought advice from Murray and Davis Cup captain Leon Smith and is optimistic her side can exceed expectations.

The Fed Cup is very much the poor relation to the Davis Cup in terms of profile, and Keothavong 's predecessor Judy Murray resigned last year partly out of frustration with the format.

Getty © Provided by BSkyB Getty Getty © Provided by BSkyB Getty

Great Britain will hope they are not blown away by a Romanian storm as they try to end a 24-year wait to reach the elite level of the Fed Cup.

Preparations for the World Group II play-off in the Black Sea resort of Constanta have been disrupted by high winds, rain and even a few flurries of snow, making outdoor practice difficult at the Tenis Club IDU.

However, the good news is the forecast is better for the weekend, when a British team led by Johanna Konta will take on a strong Romanian line-up.

Captain Anne Keothavong said: "It hasn't been ideal. Yesterday was a complete wash-out, we were practising in the indoor bubble but it's the same for both teams. It's cold, it's wet, the conditions will be heavy, but we're ready."

Konta accused of gamesmanship

  Konta accused of gamesmanship Johanna Konta was accused of gamesmanship after being reduced to tears by abuse from Romania Fed Cup captain.Johanna Konta was accused of gamesmanship after being reduced to tears by abuse from Romania Fed Cup captain Ilie Nastase and the crowd in Constanta on Saturday.

Johanna Konta was reduced to tears by abuse from Romania Fed Cup captain Ilie Nastase and the crowd in Constanta on Saturday. Keothavong eyes Fed Cup upset . 'Don't give Sharapova slam spot'.

Great Britain’s Fed Cup team for the tie against Japan, from left: Anna Smith, Gabi Taylor, Heather Watson, Johanna Konta and captain Anne Keothavong .

Romania go into the tie as favourites on home soil and on their best surface, with world number five Simona Halep contesting the opening rubber in her home city against Heather Watson.

If Britain are to win they will need Konta, now ranked seventh after her recent Miami Open triumph, to produce the form that has made her one of the most dangerous players in the women's game.

Clay is not her best surface but a win over 33rd-ranked Irina-Camelia Begu in the second rubber is a must if Britain are to stand a chance of pulling off a shock, and Keothavong's predecessor Judy Murray resigned last year partly out of frustration with the format.

Britain have been trying to escape the Europe/Africa Zone since 1993 without success.

Murray twice led them to similar play-offs against Sweden and Argentina in 2012 and 2013 respectively but defeats sent them back to square one.

Nastase refuses to apologise

  Nastase refuses to apologise Ilie Nastase has refused to say sorry after being banned from Romania's Fed Cup tie with Great Britain over his language.Ilie Nastase has refused to say sorry after being banned from Romania's Fed Cup tie with Great Britain for a foul-mouthed rant and insisted he does not care what punishment he is given.

Great Britain’s Fed Cup team begin their 2017 campaign on Wednesday and new captain Anne Keothavong sees no reason why they cannot emulate the exploits of the nation’s Davis Cup stars.

"I hope the ITF value the Fed Cup as much as the Davis Cup - and give women a chance to shine," said Keothavong . Unlike the Davis Cup , the World Group of the women's event is currently split into two divisions of eight teams.

Former British No 1 Keothavong has sought advice from Murray and Davis Cup captain Leon Smith and is optimistic her side can exceed expectations.

She said: "Judy has been a really good mentor for me. I've picked her brain on lots of subjects and she's got a lot of knowledge and has been willing to help, which has been great for me.

"I'm just as desperate to get out of this group, there's nothing more I would like to see than Great Britain in a World Group and that's something that's a possibility.

"We've got a fantastic group of gifted and talented players and they're capable of scoring big wins on the big stages. I think the Romanians will feel the pressure and it's up to the players and all of us to take advantage of that."

Watson has had a difficult season, dropping to 113 in the rankings, but has an excellent record in Fed Cup and only lost 12 games in four matches in the group stage in February.

'Disappointed' Williams responds to Nastase comments, backs ITF investigation

  'Disappointed' Williams responds to Nastase comments, backs ITF investigation After Ilie Nastase's alleged controversial remarks over the weekend, Serena Williams has expressed her disappointment on Instagram.Serena Williams has described alleged comments from Ilie Nastase regarding her unborn child as "racist" and pledged her full support to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) as it investigates the 70-year-old's conduct.

Anne Keothavong . The 26-year-old has been out of action since damaging knee ligaments during a doubles match in Stanford in July but had targeted the Fed Cup for her return. Keothavong will be joined by Elena Baltacha, Katie O'Brien and doubles specialist Sarah Borwell in Portugal.

Anne Keothavong has been appointed as Great Britain's Fed Cup captain and senior national women's coach by the Lawn Tennis Association. The former world top-50 player, who won 21 singles ties in the Fed Cup , will work alongside head coach Jeremy Bates.

She said: "I really enjoy the team environment, especially having everyone at the side of the court, cheering me on and backing me. It's different from a regular tournament and I think I really thrive in it and that shows in my results."

The other two team members, Laura Robson and Jocelyn Rae, will, if needed, play the final doubles rubber on Sunday against Monica Niculescu and Sorana Cirstea.

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'Anything I say, I am the bad boy': Ilie Nastase responds to his remarks on Serena Williams' unborn baby .
The Romanian has come under heavy criticism after his comments on Williams' unborn baby.The Romanian former world number one has been suspended as the captain of the Romania's Fed Cup team after he was heard shouting at the umpire before calling Konta and Keothavong "f*****g b*****s.

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