Team Bath Tennis ace Anna Smith has returned to the Great Britain Fed Cup team for next month’s Europe/Africa Group I matches in Estonia.
Smith – who flew out to Melbourne on Monday to compete in the 2018 Australian Open – will once again represent her country having finished 2017 ranked in the world’s top 50 doubles players.
She previously appeared at the Fed Cup in 2015 and 2016, winning four of her five rubbers, and will be joined in the team this year by British number one Johanna Konta, number two Heather Watson and debutant Katie Boulter.
Smith has trained with the International High-Performance Tennis Academy based at the University of Bath Sports Training Village for the past five years and Director of Tennis Barry Scollo is delighted to see her going from strength to strength.
“Fed Cup selection is a great testament to the hard work that Anna has put in and how she has grown as a player since joining the programme in Bath,” he said.
“Anna was injured when she first arrived and her ranking was quite low but she has really pushed on and is improving all the time. The work she has done with coaches Ian MacDonald and Dave Sammel, as well as the Strength & Conditioning team here, has just been fantastic.
“It has been a real team effort but I think Ian deserves a special mention, he has been on the road with her and done a lot of great work. It really speaks volumes about the tennis programme at Team Bath, both here at the University and in providing support no matter where our players are in the world.
“Anna has been selected for her doubles expertise. She has produced impressive performance at Grand Slams, won WTA titles and reached a number of finals and semi-finals on the tour last year so her pedigree is really strong.”
The Fed Cup Europe/Africa Zone Group I competition will take place in Tallinn from February 7-10, with the draw being held on Monday, January 15. Fourteen teams will be split into four pools, with the top nations then facing off for one of just two places in the World Group II play-offs.
Before that, Smith will compete with Naomi Broady, sister of Team Bath player Liam, in the women’s doubles at the Australian Open next week in what will be her tenth appearance out of the past 11 Grand Slam tournaments.
She is one of two Team Bath players to finish 2017 ranked in the world’s top 50 for doubles – Marcus Daniell is currently ranked 37 on the men’s circuit and will once again partner Brazil’s Marcelo Demoliner at Melbourne Park next week.
Liam Broady is also hoping to qualify for the men’s singles competition – he faces Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in his opening qualifying match at 12.20am GMT on Wednesday.
“To have three players in Australia at the start of another Grand Slam year and two of them in the world’s top 50 is a great reflection of the strides being made by this tennis programme,” said Scollo.
“We have tremendous support from the University of Bath and Team Bath, and that allows us to invest in the players and coaches to continue pushing the standards up.”
The International High-Performance Academy is the pinnacle of an all-encompassing tennis programme at Team Bath, providing playing opportunities and world-class facilities for all ages and abilities from recreational through to elite. For more information, visit www.teambath.com/tennis.
Report courtesy of Team Bath Press Office at Matchtight