Nottingham may hold key to Olympic hopes

29 May 2012 / 19:34

The race to be Britain's representative in the women's singles at the London Olympics is likely to be decided at next week's grass-court tournament in Nottingham.

First-round defeats at the French Open for Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong mean it is almost certain no home player will qualify by ranking for the Games. One wild card is likely to be given to a British player, and that is expected to go to the highest-ranked woman when the list is updated on June 11.

Baltacha currently leads the way in 68th but she will lose the points she gained from reaching the second round at Roland Garros last year and also has a lot of points to defend next week after winning the Nottingham tournament last year.

Keothavong is ranked 81st but, because she has so few points to defend over the same period, she could have secured the British number one spot with victory over Melinda Czink. She lost badly, 6-1 6-2, but will still take over the position unless Baltacha defends her title next week and Keothavong loses early.

The Londoner is disappointed she has not done enough to qualify in her own right, and must now wait to see whether she is recommended to receive a wild card by the Lawn Tennis Association.

Keothavong, who grew up close to the Olympic Park in Hackney, said: "I've known since the start of the season that it's a good opportunity for me at every tournament to build on my ranking but it hasn't gone to plan.

"I still want to be part of the Olympic team. I haven't helped myself with my performances the last couple of months but what will be, will be. Elena and I are also looking to play doubles there and at the grass-court tournaments, so whether it's singles or doubles, I'd like to think we'd both have a shot at it."

Baltacha recognised things are now out of her hands to a large extent, and she said: "What fate has in store for me, it has in store for me.

"I want to play the Olympics. It's amazing and I want to be part of it. But, at the same time, I've given it my best. I knew I had points to defend. I've given it my best to try to defend them.

"If I don't get a shot to play, then I don't get a shot and that's it. You move on and life goes on. If you start worrying about all this stuff then you just get yourself in such a mess. I'm not prepared to go down that road."