BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA: Johanna Konta will make her singles debut against Argentine number one Paula Ormaechea, having been chosen by captain Judy Murray as her second singles player given her recent experience on clay in the United States.
“It was a difficult decision for me because we have good options, strength in depth and ultimately I based the decision on what I thought was the best match-up for clay,” Murray said.
“Jo has been playing in America on clay for the last few weeks. Her game is best adapted to clay,” Murray told the draw news conference.
Konta, 21, said she was excited rather than nervous, looking forward to her match and not bothered by being Britain’s first player on court.
“It’s my first singles match, I have played a couple of doubles matches… Hopefully I will rise to the occasion. I’m quite used to clay and we’ve been here since Monday practising,” Konta said.
“(Argentina) will have the advantage of the crowd which is a big factor, they will feed off the adrenalin,” she added.
Konta will get the tie underway on Saturday against the 20-year-old Ormaechea following Friday’s draw, with Laura Robson facing Florencia Molinero in the second singles.
In the doubles that will decide the tie if it goes to the fifth rubber on Sunday, Robson and Anne Keothavong will take on Maria Irigoyen and Mailen Auroux.
Robson has little knowledge of her opponent, Molinero, but promised to do more homework on Friday night.
“I’ve played her once before I think. I’m going to have another look at some videos tonight to see how she plays. It’s going to be a tough match because it’s really slow clay and she’s used to playing on these courts,” she said.
Argentina’s captain Bettina Fulco said her two singles players were used to going out in the same order with Ormaechea first so they were happy with the outcome of the draw.
“I like to play the first match because I don’t like waiting and I was hoping it would turn out like that,” said Ormaechea.
Analysing both Britain’s singles players, Ormaechea said: “They’re both great players who hit the ball very hard, I’ve prepared for that and my aim is to get the ball over the net as many times as necessary.”
Molinero recalled having played well and beaten Sofia Arvidsson in Argentina’s previous tie at home to Sweden in the World Group II first round, using a lot of slice, and said she hoped the same tactic would help her against Robson.
Murray is looking for a victory to confirm her belief that Great Britain has a bright future in the women’s game.
“We have a great opportunity to grow women’s tennis in Britain with what Laura and Heather (Watson) are doing and because there has been some excitment for the Fed Cup,” Murray said.
Watson, whose ranking is similar to Robson’s in the top 50 in the world, had to miss the tie in Argentina because of illness.
The full draw is listed below:
R1: Paula Ormaechea (ARG) v Johanna Konta (GBR)
R2: Florencia Molinero (ARG) v Laura Robson (GBR)
R3: Paula Ormaechea (ARG) v Laura Robson (GBR)
R4: Florencia Molinero (ARG) v Johanna Konta (GBR)
R5: Mailen Auroux/Maria Irigoyen (ARG) v Anne Keothavong/Laura Robson (GBR)
Follow this tie as it happens: Live scores or Watch Live
Captain Bettina Fulco (ARG) - 19/04/2013
Anne Keothavong (GBR) - 19/04/2013
Johanna Konta (GBR) - 19/04/2013
Paula Ormaechea (ARG) - 19/04/2013