Baltacha to replace Watson

  • By: Andy Schooler
  • Last Updated: April 9 2013, 11:50 BST

Elena Baltacha will replace Heather Watson in Great Britain's Fed Cup team for this month's play-off clash in Argentina.

Elena Baltacha: Last played back in July

Despite not having played for more than eight months following foot surgery, Baltacha has been named in a four-woman team by captain Judy Murray.

As expected, Watson is left out having recently been diagnosed with glandular fever.

Baltacha, who is due to make her comeback in Alabama on Wednesday, is joined in the team by British number one Laura Robson, Johanna Konta and Anne Keothavong.

The latter three were all members of the team which won four Euro/Africa Zone I ties in Israel in February to qualify for the World Group II play-offs. Despite being unable to play, Baltacha also made that trip and acted as a hitting partner.

Murray said: "Of course we will miss having Heather with us in Buenos Aires but we are fortunate to have strength in depth and a great mix of youth and experience in our squad.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for GB to grab a place in World Group II and we will be doing everything we can to make that happen."

Watson told the LTA's Twitter feed: "I am very disappointed not to be able to play Fed Cup.

"I know the girls can win it and my thoughts will be with them."

Watson's absence leaves the claycourt tie wide open.

While GB will have easily the highest-ranked played on show in Robson, the world number 39 is not in good form and would prefer to be playing on a different surface.

Argentina number one Paula Ormaechea will likely lead the hosts. She is ranked just 145th but recently reached the final of a WTA event on clay in Bogota.

The tie takes place on April 20-21 with the winner being promoted to the second tier of the competition for the 2014 campaign.


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