ATP Tour

Scholtz, Harris start SA’s Davis Cup onslaught

2017-02-03 09:12
SA captain Marcos Ondruska and Lloyd Harris (Picture credit: Reg Caldecott)

Pretoria - South African Davis Cup captain, Marcos Ondruska, announced 19-year-old Lloyd Harris and Nik Scholtz as his number one and two nominated singles players at the official draw for this weekend’s clash.
 
The Euro Africa Group 2 Davis Cup tie between South Africa and Estonia will be played at the Irene Country Club outside Pretoria.

South Africa’s top 15 ranked world doubles player, Raven Klaasen, will spearhead the South African doubles challenge and Ondruska nominated Ruan Roelofse as his partner for the doubles rubber on Saturday.

Scholtz, the world No 517, will get South Africa's weekend campaign under way against Estonia on Friday (10:00).

Scholtz’s name was drawn from the hat first by Irene Country Club president, Henry van der Byl and will open against Estonian number one Jurgen Zopp, who is ranked 317. This will be the first time that the two have met.

The match will be followed by the second singles rubber between Lloyd Harris, South Africa’s number one nominated player and Estonian number two Vladimir Ivanov, ranked 288 and 442,  respectively. The two will also be meeting for the first time.

On Saturday, Klaasen and Roelofse will team up and play against Kenneth Raisma and Mattias Siimar (12:00).

On Sunday, the reverse singles will be played from 10:00 with the number one players battling it out first, followed by the number two-ranked players.

Ondruska and his team remain upbeat yet cautious about their chances this weekend.

“We have the best possible side experience wise for this tie. I am very happy with how we have been preparing. Wayne Ferreira, my consultant coach, and I are happy with the way the players are striking the ball and adapting to the conditions.”

Ondruska said that he believed the team assembled for this weekend is the best for the job.

“My boys are passionate about playing for their country and will do us all proud following a very happy mood in the camp. We are at the building stage and working our way to a spot in the World Group.”

The most senior South African player in the team, Klaasen, said he was happy that Roelofse had been named as his partner for Saturday as the two have played successfully together before.

“I see this as an opportunity to nail down the tie in the doubles rubber on Saturday," said Klaasen. "Ruan and I have a good record together and hopefully by the time we play the doubles South Africa will be leading so that we can sew up the result before the start of Sunday's reverse singles."

This is the fourth time the two will have partnered each other in Davis Cup competition.

Scholtz admitted he wasn’t an “early bird” but seeing his name had come out the hat first he would have to adjust and be prepared. “I will just have to wake up that little earlier and get to the courts early to prepare for my rubber. I have all my family coming to watch so it’s very exciting.”

Estonian’s top player, Zopp, said his team were improving with the change in altitude day by day.

“We are hitting the ball much better day by day. When we arrived the altitude was a challenge but we feeling better about that and the court. And today we will complete our preparations and be as ready as ever for South Africa.”

Zopp said that although he was not nominated for the doubles he would be ready to play on all three days. “I have played many ties for Estonia and have played singles and doubles so I am ready for whatever my captain decides.”

This is the first time that the two nations have met in Davis Cup competition.

Playing programme:

Friday: Opening ceremony (09:45) followed by singles: Nik Scholtz (RSA) v Jurgen Zopp (EST); followed by Lloyd Harris (RSA) v Vladimir Ivanov (EST),

Saturday doubles (start 12 noon SA time): Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse (RSA) v Kenneth Raisma and Mattias Siimar (EST)

Sunday reverse singles (10:00): Lloyd Harris (RSA) v Jurgen Zopp (EST) followed by Nik Scholtz (RSA) v Vladimir Ivanov (EST).

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