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Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge

Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena Arena, Malaga, Spain 13 - 20 November 2024

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Anne Keothavong at the Billie Jean King Cup in France
GB Teams

Four takeaways from media day at the Billie Jean King Cup | Great Britain vs France

• 3 MINUTE READ

Catch up on the biggest talking points from media day in Le Portel as the Lexus Great Britain Billie Jean King Cup team take on France for a spot in the 2024 Finals.

1. Star-studded match-ups across the tie

First things first, we had the draw – and boy do we have some exciting matches lined up for the next couple of days. Check out the full draw below:

Day one - Friday 12 April from 13:30

  • Katie Boulter (GBR) vs Diane Parry (FRA)
  • Emma Raducanu (GBR) vs Caroline Garcia (FRA)

Day two - Saturday 13 April from 12:30

  • Katie Boulter (GBR) vs Caroline Garcia (FRA)
  • Emma Raducanu (GBR) vs Diane Parry (FRA)
  • Harriet Dart (GBR) & Heather Watson (GBR) vs Caroline Garcia (FRA) & Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)

One of the stand-out rubbers will be the battle of the No.1s as Katie Boulter and Caroline Garcia go head-to-head to start day two. The two faced each other last year in arguably the match of the tie, which Garcia won in three tie-break sets.

The two have only played each other on two occasions with the other coming at the Rothesay Classic Birmingham in 2022, where Boulter won 7-6(5), 6-1.

This will be the first time they’ve played on clay, but they come in around similar rankings – Boulter at world No.28 and Garcia at No.23.

Highlights - Boulter vs Garcia | GB vs France | Billie Jean King Cup 2023

Another interesting clash will be between 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu and rising French star Diane Parry.

Raducanu and Parry have never played each other and come in off the back of very different 12-month periods. Raducanu has been out for a long spell with injury and is now coming back and picking up results against at the top level, while Parry has risen into the top 50 for the first time I her career recently after making the fourth round at the Miami Open and two WTA 125 finals.

Unsurprisingly, the French team have gone with familiar doubles pair of Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic. The two have had huge success together, winning Roland Garros twice and lifting the Billie Jean King Cup together.

Should the tie go to a deciding rubber, they’ll take on Harriet Dart and Heather Watson, who have both made WTA finals this season and had their own successes together in the past.

2. Great Britain relishing being the underdogs

2024-BJK-Cup-Katie-Boulter-training.jpg

During Friday’s press conference both Boulter and Raducanu mentioned that the Lexus GB Billie Jean King Cup team come into this tie as underdogs – but the squad and Captain Anne Keothavong are relishing that experience.

“We’re here on French turf, they have the home support, they have plenty of experience in the team and they’ve had a lot of success in this competition. But I’m confident and I always back my players," said Keothavong.

“This is a big challenge for us, we are the underdogs. We played this French team 12 months ago and you know the result of that, but it’s a great opportunity and we’ve prepared as well as we can.

“I’m looking forward to the matches tomorrow and our players are ready to go out there and give their best and let’s see.”

3. Brits are adapting to the clay court challenge

With France having elected an indoor clay court for the tie, it’s safe to say the Brits are the less experienced of the two nations when it comes to competing on the surface – but that doesn’t scare them.

While the French team enters with more positive experience on the surface, the British squad have been working hard behind-the-scenes at the National Tennis Centre and in France and are growing more confident in their capabilities as they prepare to fight for a spot in the November’s Finals.

“It (the clay) was quite interesting at the beginning, but I’ve learnt pretty quickly and I’m starting to feel a lot better on the surface” said Raducanu. “In the future, I think it’s going to a be a surface that really suits me, but right now I’m enjoying it and the challenge that comes with it.

2024-Raducanu-BJK-Cup-Practice.jpg

“It’s great that we can be in this position to play the French team who are so dominant. Coming onto the clay, we’re definitely the underdogs but we have a lot of game and we’re ready to play this weekend.”

Meanwhile, Boulter hopes she’ll be able to carry over her fiery form from the hard-courts onto the clay. The British No.1 confessed she hasn't played as much on the surface in the past but with the 27-year-old currently in the best form of her career and is ready to tackle all that the clay throws her way.

“It’s something exciting and fresh for me” Boulter added. “I’ve got nothing to lose ultimately. I’ve worked a lot in the past during practice but not necessarily in matches on the clay so it’s something I can always get better at, but it means I have a free swing.

"It’s a challenge but I’m looking forward to every minute of it.”

4. The team spirit is at a high ahead of matchday

Keothavong has frequently highlighted the importance of building a relaxed and supportive team atmosphere during her time as captain and it’s no different this time out.

The positive team spirit and energy was prevalent during the press conference, which has been shaped by their close-knit bond and the addition of a new team member in Francesca Jones who has been making the most of her first professional Billie Jean King Cup experience.

“I love representing my country and every opportunity I get I grab it with both hands, so I’m really pleased to be a part of this team” said Watson, who could be set to compete in her 36th tie for the Brits.

“We’re having a great time and we’ve got our own personal comedian here in Fran. Everyone’s getting on really well. We’ve been busy training and getting ready for the tie, but we always have a good time together.”

The Brits will kick start their campaign on Friday 12 April. You can follow along with all of the latest results and updates from the qualifying tie below: 

Great Britain vs France results and updates

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