ATP Tour

TV blackout for SA Davis Cup tie

2015-07-16 14:27
Tennis SA (File)

Cape Town - Despite the critical importance of the occasion, with South Africa facing the possibility of relegation to its lowest level in the competition, the Euro-Africa Group Two Davis Cup tennis tie starting against Ireland at the Irene Country Club on Friday will not receive any live coverage.

The TV blackout, which was confirmed by Tennis South Africa (TSA) on Thursday, follows the non-availability of key players Kevin Anderson and Raven Klaasen and casts another dark cloud over the game in the country - particularly as a growing number of more minor sports are receiving an increasing amount of exposure.

"We made overtures to conclude a deal with several TV organisations, including SuperSport and SABC," said a TSA official, "but we were unable to come to an agreement for any live coverage."

And it seems small compensation that SuperSport have agreed to present a  condensed package on the South Africa-Ireland tie at an unconfirmed date in the future.

"Money was basically at the root of the problem," added the official.

"We had a problem in raising the amount needed for live coverage and the TV companies were not prepared to bear the costs.

"Also there were additional problems regarding  the setting up of TV equipment at Irene, which would have conflicted with some of the other activities at the club."

This, however, would seem only a further indictment of those involved, broaching the question as to why the picturesque, but relatively out-of-the-way venue was selected instead of one in central Johannesburg or Pretoria which would have attracted more spectators.

Meanwhile, the tie, which seems poised on a razor's-edge, gets underway at 09:30 on Friday, with a match-up between South African No 2 Fritz Wolmarans and Ireland No 1 James McGee.

Thursday's draw has pitted South African No 1 Tucker Vorster against Ireland No 2 Sam Barry in the opening day's second match, with South African captain Earl Grainger expressing satisfaction with the outcome.

"I think it's come out the way I wanted," said Grainger, "and I'm confident we can pull off what will be a tough undertaking."

The doubles will be played on Saturday, with the final two singles matches scheduled for Sunday.

Read more on:    tsa  |  davis cup  |  tennis

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