Coach De Jager forced to play
John-Laffnie de Jager (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Another injury blow to the South African Davis Cup team has forced non-playing captain John-Laffnie de Jager to make himself available for their Davis Cup Euro-Africa Group I tie against a full-strength Poland outfit, starting in Zielona Góra on Friday.
Doubles specialist Raven Klaasen was on Wednesday also ruled out, handing another blow to the preparations of the underdog visitors.
De Jager confirmed that Klaasen would be sidelined for five weeks after fracturing his thumb during a practice session.
"It was a freak accident. He tried to get out of the way from the ball and the racket ricocheted into his thumb," said De Jager.
"We took him for ex rays this morning and he is out for five weeks. I can't believe our bad luck with these injuries during the Davis Cup."
With a long list of unavailable players - including SA No 1 Kevin Anderson, veteran Izak van der Merwe, who has an ankle injury, and Nikala Scholtz, Fritz Wolmarans and Wayne Montgomery, who are all tied up with other commitments - De Jager said he would be forced to take to the court.
"We have no choice. I have to be playing captain again," De Jager said.
"It is too late to fly someone in for back-up and the next guy, Keith-Patrick Crowley, doesn't have a schengen visa."
The tie will be played on hard court indoors, with the winner gaining a place in the World Group playoffs.