Fed Cup will take place in East London (Picture: Getty Images)The Copper Box Arena will play host to Great Britain’s Fed Cup tie with Kazakhstan, with Anne Keothavong’s side desperately hoping to return to the World Group.
Not since 1993 have Team GB been inside the top-tier of international team tennis and there are hopes from British tennis chiefs that home support will carry them all the way.
Having stormed through the gruelling eight-team Europe/Africa Zone in Bath, with singles players Katie Boulter and Johanna Konta going the week unbeaten, the Brits were seeded and therefore handed a winnable tie against Kazakhstan from April 20-21.
It’s just the fourth time in 24 home ties that a Fed Cup or Davis Cup match has been staged in the capital – somewhat dispelling the myth that all UK tennis is taken directly to London – and it’s the first time East London will host this level of competition.
Keothavong is pleased to bring the Fed Cup close to home (Picture: Getty Images for LTA)The venue capacity is expected to be at 5,800, while tickets will be available at £6 for under-16s and £12 for adults.
Fed Cup captain Keothavong and LTA CEO Scott Lloyd announced the news at Clapton Girls Academy in Hackney on Thursday morning.
Keothavong, who grew up in Hackney, said: ‘Having grown up and started playing tennis here, I never dreamt that one day I would be coming back and leading the British team in what is the world cup of women’s team tennis.
‘Looking ahead to April, words can’t describe the sense of anticipation we are going to have playing our first World Group Play-Off at home having played the last four away.
‘Home support makes such a massive difference in sport and we saw the impact the GB fans had in getting the team over the line in Bath recently.’
Lloyed added: ‘Building on the success of the 2012 Olympic Games, we are hoping the backdrop of an iconic venue like the Copper Box will spur our team onto victory.
‘We want to enable as many fans as possible to attend and give new audiences the opportunity to experience the thrill of live tennis and support our GB team’s bid to reach the world group level of the Fed Cup for the first time since 1993.’
The arena was purpose-built for the 2012 London Olympic Games and was used for handball and modern pentathalon fencing as well as goalball during the Paralympic Games.
Basketball outfit London Lions ply their trade there, while boxing events regularly book the venue.
Russ Barnes, partnership manager of Copper Box Arena, added: ‘We are delighted to be hosting the Fed Cup.
‘With the 2012 heritage, Copper Box Arena is in the heart of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and it is great that we can continue our sporting tradition. We look forward to hosting this exciting event in April.’