Captain Anne Keothavong challenged Britain’s female players to start achieving their potential after Katie Boulter starred in a Billie Jean King Cup victory over Mexico.
Boulter won two matches to secure a 3-1 victory in the behind-closed-doors play-off at the National Tennis Centre in London, maintaining Britain’s place at the elite level of the competition formerly known as Fed Cup.
Britain were heavy favourites even without number one Johanna Konta but suffered a hiccup on Saturday morning when Heather Watson was beaten by 285th-ranked Marcela Zacarias.
That put the pressure on Boulter, who had to wait for three hours while the tie paused to ensure there was no clash with the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.
But she once again showed she is a player more than capable of handling pressure situations with a 6-4 6-1 victory over Giuliana Olmos, her seventh win from eight singles matches in the competition.
Boulter is ranked down at 291 having failed so far to return to anywhere near the heights she achieved two years ago, when a back injury aggravated in guiding Britain to victory over Kazakhstan in the same competition sent her tumbling out of the top 100.
She is one of nine British women in the world’s top 300 but only Konta and Watson are inside 100, with Harriet Dart and Francesca Jones between 100 and 200.
Keothavong did not hold back in stressing she expects better, saying: “I’ve got a lot of belief in our players. The players who were part of the team this week, I think every single one of them has the potential to be in the world’s top 100 but it’s going to take a lot.
“For those who aren’t quite there yet, they need to be able to take responsibility of their own tennis. There are no shortcuts but a lot of people believe in them and they need to find that belief within themselves as well.
The victory sends Britain through to a first-round match next February, where they will have another shot at qualifying for the 12-team finals event.