Tennis South Africa yesterday announced their best possible Davis Cup squad, including the country’s top world-ranked player, Raven Klaasen, to play Estonia in the upcoming Euro/Africa Group 2 tie at Irene Country Club, Tshwane. The tie, to be played from 3 to 5 February 2017, will see South Africa and Estonia doing battle for the first time in Davis Cup competition.
The team, to be called the KIA SA Davis Cup Team, will be supported by KIA Motors South Africa.
“KIA is excited to be part of the Davis Cup team set up and to facilitate their efforts to progress through the groups to a level that does justice to the talent we have in South Africa,” commented David Sieff, KIA South Africa Marketing Director. “We are also excited to have rising star Lloyd Harris spearheading the SA attack, and top class Raven Klaasen available for his country. We wish the team every success.”
South African Captain, Marcos Ondruska, named Lloyd Harris, Nik Scholtz, Tucker Vorster, Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse in his five man squad. Ondruska also confirmed that Dean O’Brien would join the squad as a practice partner for the week at Irene.
Ten days ahead of the tie, Ondruska will have to nominate a four man team from his squad. The Captain, after naming that four man team, may make changes to the team originally nominated up to one hour before the draw on Thursday, 2 February 2017.
Harris achieved a career-high singles ranking of 266 in November 2016 and recently won a record six Futures titles on the trot after a whitewash of three title wins at the Digicall Futures in Stellenbosch late last year. He is currently ranked 282 in the world.
Klaasen, South Africa’s most celebrated doubles player in recent years, broke into the world’s top 10 in July of 2016. Together with his partner, Rajeev Ram of the USA, Klaasen reached the final of the ATP World Tour Masters in London in November of last year. Klaasen is presently ranked 11 and with Ram are the 11th ranked team in world tennis in the race to London.
“I am very excited about the 2017 Davis Cup campaign,” said Ondruska. “There are a lot of items that were worked on last year that are starting to come together this year. The team is strong and the guys in the team are better players this year than they were last year. The goal is to work our way this year into the Euro/Africa Zone Group 1 section for 2018, and then into the World Group.”
Last year South Africa failed to gain promotion to Euro/Africa Group 1 after losing 2-3 away to Lithuania in round two, but secured their Group 2 spot with a 5-0 over Luxembourg at Irene in round 1.
South African squad rankings (singles/doubles):
Lloyd Harris: Singles 284, Doubles: 793
Nik Scholtz: Singles 516, Doubles: 333
Tucker Vorster: Singles 636, Doubles: 269
Raven Klaasen Doubles: 13
Ruan Roelofse Doubles: 175
Marcos Ondruska: Team Captain
Karen Ven der Merwe: Team Physiotherapist