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Federation Cup call: Melane South

Kingston tennis star Melanie South has vowed to impress after being named in Great Britain's squad for the Federation Cup ties in Hungary later this month.

It is the first time South has received such an honour, and the perfect tonic as she sets about getting her career back on track in 2008.

The south Londoner has watched enviously from the sidelines during Federation Cup campaigns in the past, and is eager to grab her chance.

South said: "I am very excited. When I got the call to say I was in the squad, I was extremely happy.

"The Federation Cup has always been a big deal for me and I was disappointed every time I wasn't selected.

"It is totally different to be in a team atmosphere and I'm really looking forward to helping British team spirit."

Britain will face a series of round-robin matches when the competition gets under way on January 28.

Britain face a difficult task in Budapest, as they will take on, among others, Serbia, which could see South meet world number six Ana Ivanovic.

But the 21-year-old Briton is convinced this is just the challenge she needs as she tries to muscle her way back into the world's top 200.

She added: "Last year, I had a really bad time and, to be honest, I was not in a good place mentally.

"I have taken some time over the winter to work on my fitness and I feel a lot better."

South also revealed she will continue to focus on her blossoming doubles career, which saw her achieve her most notable results in 2007, appearing in a number of ranking finals.

South added: "I really enjoy playing doubles and I have to admit I think I play it well.

"I didn't have a settled doubles partner all last season and it takes a while for a partnership to gel. I have been training with Anne Keothavong and it looks as though we'll team up, which will be great."

by By Simon Fitzjohn

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