ATP Tour

No luck knocking on Anderson's door

2017-08-23 14:38
Kevin Anderson (AP)

Cape Town - While announcing South Africa's Davis Cup squad to face Denmark in the Euro-Africa Group Two match-up next month, captain Marcos Ondruska was asked on Tuesday if he had "knocked on the door" in a bid to persuade Kevin Anderson to end a six-year, self-imposed exile and  make himself available for the key tie.

Ondruska's answer suggesting he had figuratively almost knocked the door down left nothing to the imagination as to the importance with which the team captain felt the presence of South Africa's top player would have been for the key tie in Aarhus from September 15 to 17.

Ondruska, however, remained resolute and confident that the players he had named in an unchanged line-up, namely Lloyd Harris and Nik Scholtz for singles and the doubles pairing of Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse were fully capable overcoming a moderate Danish combination and successfully completing the all-important job at hand of gaining promotion to next year's Euro-Africa Group One segment of the Davis Cup.

"It's rarely easy in an away Davis Cup tie, with home support a telling factor," indicated the South African team captain, "but we have a team that is currently in form and capable of overcoming the Danes."

And Ondruska also revealed that much progress had been made in luring Anderson back into the Davis Cup fold in future, with his presence particularly important in the infinitely stronger Euro-Africa Group 1 should South Africa indeed fulfil the quest for promotion.

Nevertheless, the role Anderson could play in the Davis Cup in particular and South African tennis generally cannot be over-estimated.

And throwing his weight, so to speak, behind the knocking on Anderson's door is newly appointed Tennis South Africa CEO, Richard Glover.

His response since taking over as TSA CEO a year ago and reviving the fortunes of South African tennis has been enthusiastic and productive.

And persuading Anderson to make himself available for Davis Cup action again must surely be high on the list of his priorities.

With a back-to-form Anderson in harness, backed up by another world class player in doubles specialist Klaasen, it would be safe to say South Africa would be hot favourites to beat the rather ordinary Danish line-up and regain a morale-boosting place in the Euro-Africa Group 1 segment of the Davis Cup - before embarking on the ultimate challenge of a World Group position.

Without Anderson - and in spite of the encouraging form shown by the promising Lloyd Harris  during his current initial sortie into more challenging tournaments on the ATP circuit in the United States - the outcome in Aarhus takes on an entirely different complexion.
From outright favourites, South Africa's situation will be reduced drastically to uneasy favourites on unfamiliar courts and with a traditional partisan home crowd to deal with as well.

But Glover has managed to bring off a couple of coups already during his relatively brief tenure as TSA CEO, notably a much-needed base sponsorship, and his comment that "naturally we are looking at fielding a strongest-possible line-up in the Davis Cup," warrants a grain of hope.


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