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SA name unchanged Davis Cup team for Danish clash

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South Africa will go into their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas promotion tie against Denmark with all guns blazing in Aarhus, Denmark, next month.

On Tuesday, Tennis South Africa (TSA) announced a strong KIA South Africa team to take on the Danes.

The team will be made up of Lloyd Harris, Nik Scholtz, Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse – with Tucker Vorster travelling with the team as practice partner. The squad is the same that have seen off both Estonia and Slovenia in previous ties this year. The team will be captained by Marcos Ondruska, with former Davis Cup player (and now leading ATP coach) Jeff Coetzee joining as a consultant coach for the tie.

Harris remains the second-highest ranked South African player on the world rankings (after Kevin Anderson, who was not available for the tie) and this past week reached the quarter-finals of the Challenger in Vancouver, Canada. He reached the semi-finals of four Futures events this year and lost in the finals of the Futures in Italy.

Harris also impressed in Japan, where he was a semi-finalist in the Challenger there, and in June qualified for his first ATP World Tour event in Antalya, Turkey.

Scholtz is also enjoying fine form, having recently won two Futures titles in Zimbabwe and reaching the Futures finals in Mexico.

‘It’s always great to be able to pick an unchanged team,’ said Ondruska. ‘I think everyone’s performing better than they ever have on tour. That bodes very well for the team in general, as all the guys are improving and on a good path with their individual development. Lloyd has performed really well this year; having reached a Challenger final and qualified for his first ATP World Tour event. Nik is in great form after winning back-to-back titles in recent months in Zimbabwe, while Raven remains well-positioned in the world’s top 15 in doubles, and forms a strong unit with Ruan Roelofse.

‘I’m confident going into this tie against Denmark. It’s going to be a tough tie, with both sides looking to move into the Euro/Africa Group 1. I do think that the team we have is strong enough to get through the finish line. The tie is very important for everyone. It’s been the goal, since the first Davis Cup tie that I have been a part of, for the team to move up a group. Last year we fell short and this year we are in the tie that we are looking for. Our goal is to eventually make it to the World Group.’

Commenting on the inclusion of Vorster to the SA squad, Ondruska said: ‘Tucker will be part of the team to help prepare the singles players and provide back-up if anything unforeseen happens to any of the top four players leading into the tie.’

Meanwhile Coetzee was delighted to have been invited by Ondruska to join the team as consultant coach.

‘What an honour this is. Throughout my career I was proud to represent my country in Davis Cup competition, and now to be part of the team and assist Marcos, a good friend and player I always looked up to, and offer advice to this talented group of dedicated players, is indeed an honour.

‘The tie against Denmark will be a challenge, no doubt, especially with us playing away from home, but Marcos and I will prepare the squad as best we can to take up that challenge.’

Denmark are expected to name their side 10 days ahead of the tie next month.

The SA team and their current ranking positions: Lloyd Harris (231st singles, 644th doubles); Nik Scholtz (402nd singles, 505th doubles); Raven Klaasen (15th doubles), Ruan Roelofse (142nd doubles).

Picture of the SA team (left to right: Ondruska (captain), Scholtz, Harris, Vorster, Roelofse and Klaasen) courtesy of Reg Caldecott


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