20 - 21 April 2019

Fed Cup by BNP Paribas

Copper Box Arena, London

Fed Cup: Celebrating the team behind the team on International Women’s Day

  • 08/03/2019

  • Major Events

In six weeks, Great Britain’s Fed Cup team will return to action as they face Kazakhstan for a place in the World Group. The World Group II Play-Off will be staged at East London’s Copper Box Arena, 20-21 April, and triumph for the Brits would edge them back into the top tier of the competition for the first time since 1993.

Today not only marks tickets going on sale for the tie, but also champions International Women’s Day. To celebrate, we’re shining the spotlight on some members of the incredible Fed Cup support team, both female and male, who work solidly behind-the-scenes to help the Brits achieve smashing results on court.

Milly Mirkovic is the team’s Physiotherapist. Her role involves monitoring the players in the lead up to the competition to ensure they are as injury-free as possible. During the event, she works closely with the players to help them recover well after each match, whilst addressing any niggles that may have developed. She also attends any injury-related court calls should a player ask for evaluation or treatment during a match.

Reflecting on her experience in Bath for the Europe/Africa Group I competition, Milly said: “I really enjoyed working together as a team – from warm-up routines to cheering on the bench – not forgetting the recovery work past the hours of midnight, and of course winning the tie to qualify for the play-offs!

 “It’s so exciting to have a home tie in London, where most of us live. It’s going to be in a world- class venue which I’m sure will have an amazing crowd to cheer on the team,” she added.  

Also excited by April’s Fed Cup tie - which comes just two months after Great Britain played in front of a home crowd for the first time in over a quarter of a century - is Strength and Conditioning Coach Conor McGoldrick. “Getting a home tie was massive, so I’m excited to see the Copper Box hopefully full and noisy in full support of the players,” he said.  

Conor’s role involves helping the players prepare physically whilst also supporting their recovery so they can compete at their very best each day. In Bath, he was particularly impressed with the team’s 10/0 win/loss record commenting, “To go through the week without losing a match was a massive highlight – especially when you consider how many world-class players there were.”

Elsewhere in the team, Performance Analyst Hannah Thomas was busy studying the players’ opponents so they felt as prepared as possible going into their matches. “My work involves supporting players and coaches with stats and video so they can develop their games both technically and tactically,” said Hannah.   

“Throughout the week, I would focus specifically on opposition analysis – this is when you break down the opponents that the players will face, looking at specific patterns of play, and strengths and weaknesses so that they’re ready for what faces them out on court."

There were matches in Bath that were tantalisingly close, with five out of their eight singles rubbers played going the distance to three sets. Having solid performance analysis in the mix is therefore crucial; by having prior knowledge of their opponents, players can dig that little bit deeper.  

“Katie [Boulter]’s match against Dalma Galfi was a highlight. We were all very proud of her being able to come through that to get the win, in such a tough match both physically and mentally,” she concluded.  

Hannah works closely with the team’s coaches to ensure that “the most accurate and objective information is fed back to our players before and during each match.” Former Fed Cup star and professional doubles player Joss Rae is one of those coaches.

“My role within the team – having come from playing alongside the girls to now sitting on the other side of it – is to keep spirits high, be there for Anne [Keothavong] and of course the players, and generally act as a morale officer!

“The whole week in Bath was amazing, particularly working together and watching the girls boss it,” Joss said. “One thing that stood out for me was hearing the crowd for the first time on the opening day of match action and watching the girls inspire people through their performances.”

By defeating Slovenia (3-0), Greece (3-0), Hungary (2-0) and Serbia (2-0), the Brits reached April’s play-offs for a remarkable fifth time in the last eight years. The LTA’s Head of Women’s Tennis Iain Bates has played a pivotal part in the team’s progress, travelling the globe and offering invaluable support alongside the team’s captain Anne Keothavong and former captain Judy Murray.

“The support we received over the four days in Bath was second to none. The noise, the energy and the experience of playing at home for the first time in 26 years – as well as winning of course – was just incredible,” he said.

The team narrowly missed out in last year’s World Group II Play-Offs when they fell in a deciding doubles rubber to Japan. Iain hopes this time will be different with home advantage on the team’s side. “I’m most looking forward to having another opportunity to reach World Group II, this time at home, at an iconic venue with over 5000 fans making noise and supporting the team.

“So much goes into getting the players on the court, it really is a team effort,” Iain added.

Back the Brits

Tickets to the Fed Cup World Group II Play-Off are now on sale. Make some noise and cheer on the team – all tickets can be purchased online and are available from as little as £6 for children and £12 for adults.