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Fed Cup by BNP Paribas
Euro/Africa Zone Group I
4th-9th February 2014
Elena Baltacha, part of the Aegon GB Fed Cup Team, blogs from Eilat, Israel, where GB are competing in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas...
Another Fed Cup campaign here we come. Although I’m not officially a playing member of the team, for Anne and myself, we are starting to feel like a pair of old grannies compared to Hev, Laura and Joko, but let me tell you there’s a lot to be said for experience! You can’t buy that.
This Fed Cup tie is particularly exciting for me as I’m coming back to the site of one our best ever performances as a team here last year where we qualified for World Group II play-off, and also one of my best ever wins against former world No. 11 Shahar Peer. The atmosphere that night was absolutely electric.
This trip is also a big milestone personally, as it’s my first ‘event’ since I had surgery on my right foot back on October 8. Back then I genuinely thought I was done with tennis but a few weeks after the op I was starting to get the ‘itch’ again. Going through the rehab wasn’t nearly as bad as I anticipated and I think I realised that I’m definitely much stronger mentally than thought. Another factor was that I didn’t want my last match at the Olympics to be my last as a tennis player. So here we go again! Strictly speaking I’m here as squad member, not nominated to play this time around.
Our journey to Eilat started bright and early, well not so bright, back at the NTC in Roehampton on Saturday morning at 6am. We arrived in Tel Aviv at 3:25pm local time after a four-hour plus flight, had a layover of over four hours before boarding the short flight to Eilat arriving at 9pm. At the best of times I’m not the best flyer. After that we had a quick dinner and all collapsed into bed shattered after journey for a 7am start on Sunday.
We were the first ones at the courts at 9am and it was so nice to see the bright blue sky and feel the warmth of the sun on my pasty white skin. I feel I’m hitting it really well, feeling the ball well, and like I haven’t been away for six months. I have been doing a lot of work with Nino Severino (my coach) and Louis Cayer from the NTC on few technical and tactical things. I’m looking to add to my game and excited about the challenge.
Our last visit here was special for everyone not just the players, but the whole team headed up by Judy, right down to our coach, analyst, physios. One of the keys for us this week will be recreating the great chemistry we all had here last year and bringing that into our performance. Sunday evening we all had a team Pictionary game after dinner and what a riot that was. I hear the videos will up on our social media channels soon so keep an eye out for those to see what we get up to away from the courts.
Watch behind the scenes videos with the Aegon GB Fed Cup Team in Israel