Johannesburg - It has been a bleak pre-Wimbledon week for South Africa's small contingent at the blue riband event of world tennis.
South Africa's main hope Kevin Anderson was beaten 7-6 (4), 6-2 by France's Julien Benneteau in the first round of the Aegon International tournament at Eastbourne in what would be his only appearance on a grasscourt surface prior to the start of the Wimbledon grand slam event on Monday.
The South African number one withdrew from the Queens tournament in London last week without hitting a ball as a result of a niggling shoulder injury, despite being seeded eighth for the event.
"Nothing serious," was the message from the Anderson camp, "but more of a precautionary measure in view of the pending start of Wimbledon."
Anderson now goes into Wimbledon with minimum practice on grass and a lingering doubt hanging over his fitness.
What is more, he was surprisingly seeded 27th when the Wimbledon men's singles seedings were announced on Wednesday, despite his world ranking of 23rd.
However, if the 6ft 8in Anderson's Wimbledon prospects had taken a knock, it was nothing compared with the fate of veteran Davis Cup player Rik De Voest and the promising 20 year-old Chanel Simmonds, who are out of the singles even before the start of the tournament proper.
Both De Voest and Simmonds were beaten in the first round of the qualifying segment, with the 163rd ranked De Voest losing 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 to the 187th ranked Boris Pashanski and Simmonds going down 6-3, 6-1 to Portugal's Michelle Larcher De Brito.
Top South African women's player Chani Scheepers would make the first round of the singles if she was fully recovered from a recent injury.