Katie Boulter has come ‘full circle’ as GB return to Copper Box for BJK Cup tie

By Sports Desk November 10, 2023

Katie Boulter feels she has come “full circle” as she prepares to lead Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup team in this weekend’s play-off against Sweden at the Copper Box.

It was at the same venue four and a half years ago that Boulter secured victory over Kazakhstan to put Britain back at the elite level of the competition formerly known as Fed Cup.

But she suffered a stress fracture in her back that kept her out for more than six months and sent her ranking plummeting out of the top 100.

It has taken until this year for Boulter to get back to and now surpass that level, and at 58 in the world she is by some distance the highest-ranked player in the tie.

“It really was something that stuck in my memory for many, many years,” said Boulter of the Kazakhstan clash.

“But I think I see the positives and the negatives of that tie. I really do. And I learned a lot from the situation that I was in, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

“It’s a full circle for me. I’m glad to be back here, and I don’t think I’d be in the position I am right now if it wasn’t for that tie. So I’m glad to be back here with a great team behind me.”

Boulter has been sharing her memories of that weekend with her good friend Jodie Burrage, who will make a long-awaited debut in the competition.

Burrage, ranked 93, has been unlucky to miss out in previous ties, and she said: “I’ve absolutely loved this week. The vibe’s been great. I’m really happy that (captain) Anne (Keothavong) has trusted me to play tomorrow and I will go out there and do my absolute best to come away with the win.

“It’s just a really proud moment for me, walking out on the court tomorrow, but once I get that done then it’ll be all down to business. Playing at home as well in this arena, the girls told me that this is one of the best places that they have played, so I can’t wait to experience that tomorrow.”

This time last year Britain were on their way to a historic semi-final appearance in the competition having been given a wild card for the final stages as hosts in Glasgow.

Defeat by France in Coventry in April meant they missed out this year and they must beat Sweden to have another shot at qualifying in 2024.

Anything but victory would be a disaster given the visitors are without their only two top-200 players in Rebecca Peterson and Mirjam Bjorklund, who both withdrew through injury.

Instead, they are relying on world number 372 Kajsa Rinaldo Persson, who will take on Burrage first up on Saturday, and 532nd-ranked Caijsa Hennemann.

Keothavong insisted there will be no complacency, saying: “There’s absolutely no room for that, and I think we’ve seen in this competition that anything’s possible. This team need to go out there and impose themselves. You can’t underestimate anyone out there.

“These are the kinds of ties we want, on home soil with a full house. The players know what they need to do and hopefully they’re going to go out there tomorrow and execute it.

“I think all of us collectively are motivated to get back into the world group because we know what we’re capable of as a team. When we come together, we really do rise to the challenge.”

Meanwhile, Britain’s junior Billie Jean King Cup team reached the semi-finals of the under-16 competition with a 3-0 victory over Sweden and will play the Czech Republic for a place in the final.

Related items

  • Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Casper Ruud to win Monte-Carlo title for third time Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Casper Ruud to win Monte-Carlo title for third time

    Stefanos Tsitsipas brushed aside Casper Ruud to claim his third Monte-Carlo Masters title in four years.

    The Greek star took just an hour and 37 minutes to see off his Norwegian opponent 6-1 6-4 on Court Rainier III.

    Ruud dispatched world number one Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals but he could not repeat the feat as Tsitsipas once again produced his best tennis in the principality.

    The title winner, who has had to overcome a back problem, told the ATP Tour’s official website: “It has been very difficult, so to be back on the podiums, winning tournaments just feels amazing.

    “I can’t thank my family enough and friends – and if there is God out there – for making this moment possible. I am extremely grateful for every person behind this journey.

    “The third time is even more special than the first or second time. This is an unbelievable win for me. Capturing that win today was nerve-wracking. I really wanted this trinity. I am extremely happy today.”

    The 25-year-old 12th seed came out firing against the world number 10, breaking the struggling Ruud in the third game and clinching the first set at the second time of asking.

    He had to save a break point in the first game of the second set and then three in the seventh as the improving Norwegian pushed for a way back into the match.

    However, Tsitsipas then broke to edge himself towards the finishing line and complete a good afternoon’s work.

    He said: “I am glad I presented on court and showed some ruthless tennis. From the beginning to the end my play was cohesive and I was able to blend in a lot of different shots.”

    Meanwhile, Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz has withdrawn from the Barcelona Open due to injury.

    The world number three pulled out of the Monte-Carlo Masters with a right forearm problem and has not recovered in time to defend his title in his home country.

    A statement from the tournament read: “Carlos Alcaraz will not be able to defend the title he won the last two seasons.

    “The player from Murcia has suffered from the injury sustained in Monte Carlo, and did not have a good feeling in his training on Sunday and, despite having tried until the last moment, he will not be in the Barcelona Open.

    “Wishing you a speedy recovery, we hope to see you next year.”

    Fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal is scheduled to make his comeback from injury at the tournament.

    The 37-year-old has not played on the main tour since January due to a hip injury.

  • Novak Djokovic suffers first defeat to Casper Ruud at Monte-Carlo Masters Novak Djokovic suffers first defeat to Casper Ruud at Monte-Carlo Masters

    World number one Novak Djokovic suffered a first defeat to Casper Ruud as he was beaten in the semi-finals of the Monte-Carlo Masters.

    Norwegian Ruud delivered the biggest win of his career with a 6-4 1-6 6-4 victory to reach his second ATP Masters 1000 final.

    Ruud had never won a set off Djokovic in their past five meetings, but found his form against the tournament’s top seed to battle through to the final, where he will face Stefanos Tsitsipas.

    In a rematch of last year’s French Open final between the pair, Djokovic – who had appeared to struggle physically during his quarter-final win over Alex De Minaur – failed to find his usual high levels.

    Ruud, though, rose to the occasion on Court Rainier III to hold off a fightback from the Serbian in the final set, with Djokovic recovering from 4-1 down to level.

    The 25-year-old rallied to claim a third match point after Djokovic double faulted, completing a hard-fought victory in two hours and 17 minutes.

    Djokovic, meanwhile, sees his hunt for a first tournament win of 2024 continue.

    “I am super happy. This is a day I will remember for a long time,” Ruud told the ATP Tour website.

    “Beating a world number one is something I have never done and beating Novak is something I have never done.

    “I am very, very happy. I am a little bit in a state of shock right now.”

    Earlier, Tsitsipas had battled past second seed Jannik Sinner 6-4 3-6 6-4 and now has his eyes set on a third title in the Principality.

    “It was tennis at its highest level that I have been able to play,” said the Greek, who lifted back-to-back Monte-Carlo Masters titles in 2021 and 2022.

    “Jannik was an extremely-difficult opponent and it can be seen throughout the year so far.

    “He has been very consistent and I could see that throughout today with his game.

    “He is one of the toughest opponents I have faced so far and to find ways when there weren’t that many, I am proud of that.”

  • Emma Raducanu seals stunning GB win over France in Billie Jean King Cup Emma Raducanu seals stunning GB win over France in Billie Jean King Cup

    Emma Raducanu produced another dazzling comeback win to help Great Britain qualify for the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in stunning fashion with a 3-1 win over France.

    Anne Keothavong’s team were big underdogs ahead of the qualifier on clay in Le Portel and had lost to the same opponents in Coventry last year, but entered day two level at 1-1 after Raducanu’s impressive three-set victory over Caroline Garcia on Friday.

    Katie Boulter put her day one disappointment behind her to produce an excellent 7-5 6-0 win over world number 44 Clara Burel for a career-best victory on clay.

    It opened the door for former US Open champion Raducanu to send Britain through to the Finals later this year in Seville, but she was pushed all the way by Diane Parry in a pulsating contest that lasted two hours and 52 minutes.

    Parry won the first set but Raducanu, back in the team for the first time in two years following an injury-hit 2023, fought back to clinch a tremendous 4-6 6-1 7-6 (1) victory that not only sends her country through to the November Finals, but serves notice to her rivals ahead of the clay-court season.

    “To be able to put two matches like that back-to-back, three sets and on clay against really tough opponents, it’s just a testament to the work we’ve been doing,” Raducanu told the BBC.

    “I knew it would pay off eventually, so I’m very pleased that this weekend it was able to show.

    “On Thursday before the tie, we said how tough this would be but honestly I had a good feeling about the confidence of our team.

    “We have a very strong team and I am really pleased to have been able to score two points, but it helped so much having Boults this morning lead us to go 2-1 up.

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Billie Jean King Cup (@billiejeankingcup)

    “And obviously everyone on the bench and the support staff, they’ve been working around the clock to keep us fit and get us back on court because we finished pretty late last night.

    “So, it’s a massive shout out. It’s not just me and Boults, it was everyone.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.