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When the Fed Cup, the women’s equivalent of the Davis Cup, comes to the UK for the first time in 26 years, and it takes place at the Bath University Sports Training Village, just a (theoretical, but we won’t dwell on that) hour’s drive away from me, well I have to go for at least one day, don’t I? I did so yesterday, 6th February, for the first day.

Having allowed an enormous amount to time to get there, I arrived at my seat on the Centre Court, my re-usable travel cup filled with coffee, just as the first singles players, from Georgia and Serbia, were warming up. There followed in the ‘morning’ session, which finished at 3.30 pm, another singles match and a doubles between the two countries.

Many others seem to have had travel problems. The stands gradually became more occupied, but they were not entirely full at this session.
This young woman lost.
This young woman from Georgia had attitude – but she also lost, …
… to this one from Serbia, in two sets.
For the doubles, the first Georgian singles loser – right – was joined by a much more powerful player, who took a nasty fall in the second game.

Her ankle was strapped up, and the pair went on to win in two sets, taking the overall score to 2-1 in Serbia’s favour.

The ‘afternoon’ session started at 4.30 pm. I took a few photos on my way back to the courts.

This is how it works. No, I haven’t fully understood it either. Suffice it to say that what I was watching was Group 1, Europe/Africa, Zone B, Group B, and the results of this round robin, which will be finally determined on Saturday, (GB play Hungary and Greece meanwhile) will help settle country placings for the 2020 Fed Cup.
A gaggle of ball boys watches events on Number 1 Court. (The ball girls on the whole were more on the ball than the boys.)

Many more camera operators in this session, because it was between Great Britain and Slovenia.

Katie Boulter arrives, followed by coach Anne Keovathong
The coin toss
A familiar face passes in front of me after first set
Many, including myself, responded to the organisers’ request to dress in red. The stands were full for the afternoon session.
I wish I’d taken more close-ups.
A big hug from the GB coach after Katie wins in two sets.
Post-match interview with Clare Balding.
Next up was Johanna Konta for her singles.
My goodness she had us worried in the first set. So many times she looked as if she was going to lose it. My heart was thumping, and I had to make myself take long slow breaths. I didn’t know I cared so much!
Phew! She pulled through, and the second set came more easily to her.
The doubles match was played by young Katie Swan and Harriet Dart. They raced away to 5-0 in the first set, but were held to 6-2.
And in the second set they again raced off, this time to a 4-0 lead.

But the Slovenians again managed to hold them to 6-2. So overall Great Britain won 3-0.

I rushed off, not staying for the media interview. It was 10.10 pm. And I was home in 55 minutes. Some people go for all four days. I don’t think my heart could cope with the stress, especially if Jo Konta were to do that again!

PS, 4 days later. Great Britain went on to come top out of all eight of the countries in this group, and a play-off in April will determine whether they are promoted to the next tier.