Pretoria, South Africa – South Africa will go all guns-a-blazing into their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas promotion tie against Denmark from September 15 to 17, in Aarhus, Denmark.
Tennis South Africa (TSA), on Tuesday, announced a strong KIA South Africa squad to take on the Danes, comprising 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 one that has 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 quarterfinals of the Challenger in Vancouver, Canada. He reached the semifinals 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 semifinalist in the Challenger there and in June qualified for his first ATP World Tour event in Antalya, Turkey.
Scholtz is enjoying fine form having recently won two Futures titles in Zimbabwe and reaching the Futures finals in Mexico.
“It is 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.”
Ondruska continued by saying, “I'm confident going into this tie against Denmark. It is going to be a tough tie, with both sides looking to move into the Euro/Africa Group 1. I do think that the team that 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 Tucker Vorster to the KIA South Africa 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.”
Jeff Coetzee was delighted to have been invited by Ondruska to join the squad as consultant coach. “ What an honor this is. Throughout my career I was proud to represent my country in Davis Cup competition and now to be part of the squad 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 honor. 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.”
Meanwhile, TSA confirmed that once again, KIA Motors South Africa would be the sponsor of the SA team.
Denmark are expected to name their side ten days ahead of the tie next month.
KIA SA team and their current ranking positions: Lloyd Harris (231 singles, 644 doubles); Nik Scholtz (402 singles, 505 doubles); Raven Klaasen (15 doubles), Ruan Roelofse (142 doubles)