Victorious Vekic will not switch to Team GB


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The Independent Online

Britain's four-woman Fed Cup team currently features two players – Laura Robson and Johanna Konta – who switched their nationalities, but Donna Vekic, one of the game's outstanding prospects, says she has no plans to join them. The 16-year-old from Croatia, who won her first match at a Grand Slam tournament here yesterday, has been based in London for the last five years and is coached by David Felgate, who was Tim Henman's coach in his early years as a professional.

"No, I'm very happy playing for Croatia," Vekic said when asked whether she would consider representing Britain. "Us Croatians have big Croatian hearts so we go out there fighting on the court, fighting for our country."

Vekic, who speaks near-perfect English, beat the Czech Republic's Andrea Hlavackova, who at No 66 in the world is ranked 45 places higher than her. The 6-1, 6-2 victory takes Vekic into a second-round meeting with Caroline Wozniacki, the world No 10.

"I was quite nervous at the beginning but, as the match went on, I started playing my tennis," Vekic said. "I didn't expect it to be that easy."

Vekic, who reached her first tour final in Tashkent last year, attends school in Croatia but spends most of her time away from tournaments in London, working with Felgate at the Northwood academy. "We've been together for about five years and we clicked from the start," Vekic said. "I listen to everything he has to say – and he's always right."

Meanwhile 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm became the oldest player ever to win a women's singles match here. The Japanese produced the biggest surprise of the tournament so far when she beat Nadia Petrova, the No 12 seed, 6-2, 6-0. Date-Krumm, who first played here 23 years ago, retired in 1997 – when Vekic was one year old – but resumed her career 12 years later.