Britain’s squad for their upcoming Billie Jean King Cup tie against Sweden has been announced with Emma Raducanu absent from the line-up as she continues her recovery from surgery. After failing to make the BJK Cup finals, team GB must now play for a place in the 2024 qualifiers. Katie Boulter, Jodie Burrage, Harriet Dart and Heather Watson will represent the team on home soil in London next month.
Team captain Anne Keothavong named her four-woman team on Friday, with the squad made up of Britain’s top four ranked singles players. “I’m delighted that all our strongest ranked players have made themselves available for the Billie Jean King Cup tie versus Sweden next month,” she said.
“We are very excited to have yet another opportunity to play in front of a home crowd, especially at the Copper Box Arena where the fans were so instrumental in helping get us over the line when we last played there a few years ago. Finally, being able to captain this team is always a huge privilege and to bring live tennis back to where I grew up, means a great deal to me on a personal level.”
With Boulter, Burrage, Dart and Watson making the cut, it means that Raducanu has not recovered in time to represent her country. The former world No 10 underwent three different surgeries in May on both wrists and one ankle.
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The 20-year-old is expected to make her return to tennis in 2024 but with the BJK Cup tie taking place on November 11 and 12, there was an outside chance that Raducanu would be ready in time to use the team event to ease back into competition. The 2021 US Open champion has been documenting her recovery journey on Instagram, posting a number of photos from the gym in recent weeks.
Raducanu is also signed up for the MGM Macau Tennis Masters in December, an exhibition tournament which will see her face off against Olympic champion Belinda Bencic. The Brit recently received an invitation to return to the ASB Classic next year after starting her 2023 season in Auckland.
“There have been some [conversations] but it’s too early to say because we still don’t have a set return date. The door is open if she wants to come,” tournament director Nicolas Lamperin said in an interview with Stuff.
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For now, Raducanu will be focused on continuing her recovery while cheering on the team from afar. Britain is hosting their tie against Sweden at London’s Copper Box Arena. The venue was previously used for a tie against Kazakhstan back in 2019 which saw Johanna Konta and Boulter lead GB to victory.
Last year, Britain received a wildcard into the BJK Cup Finals after hosting the tournament in Glasgow and reached the semi-final for the first time since 1981. They will need to beat Sweden to reach the 2024 Qualifiers stage in order to play for the chance to return to the Finals.
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