Teenagers Heather Watson and Laura Robson will make their Fed Cup debuts for Great Britain.

Watson, 18, and Robson, 16, have both made impressive early strides in the senior game and will join Fed Cup stalwarts Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong for the Europe/Africa Zone Group I round of matches in Eilat, Israel, in the week beginning January 31. Fed Cup captain Nigel Sears said: “This team has an exciting look about it. Two players who have reached top 50 and two junior grand slam champions. “We know all about the challenges of this really tough Fed Cup group, but I believe this is the right time for Heather and Laura to step up alongside Bally and Anne and try to make this a really successful week for British women’s tennis.”

Britain has made significant progress in the women’s game over the last couple of years, with Baltacha currently ranked 55th in the world while Keothavong is battling her way back towards the top 100 after sustaining a serious knee injury in 2009. Watson, the US Open junior champion last year, has climbed to a career-high 176th in the rankings, making her the British number three, while Robson has been preferred to the likes of Katie O’Brien, Naomi Cavaday and Mel South. Watson said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have been selected for Fed Cup. It’s a dream come true as I’ve grown up watching the competition. I can’t wait to head out to Israel with the girls and give it our all.” Britain will be aiming to win a place in the World Group II play-offs in April but, with only two spots available and possible opponents including world number one Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, competition will be tough.


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