Canada relishing SA duel
Johannesburg - South Africa's forfeit of home ground advantage and the unavailability of the country's top-ranked men's player, Kevin Anderson, has given Canada a distinct advantage for next week's Davis Cup World Group playoff in Montreal, according to captain Martin Laurendeau.
"We could not believe that a tennis nation with such strong tennis traditions like South Africa would give up a home tie," Laurendeau said on Tuesday.
"It was a welcome bonus and now that Kevin Anderson has been confirmed as not being part of the South African outfit, we feel real confident that we can beat the visitors and remain in the World Group and move upwards and onwards."
The South Africans gave up home ground advantage due to financial constraints, according to Tennis SA, and Laurendeau said the Canadians were making full use of the opportunity.
"We have made sure the conditions suit us and that's first and foremost," he said.
"The court we have chosen is similar to that of the US Open and the hard court surfaces leading into New York.
"It made sense to stick to the surface our players have been playing on for the past few weeks."
Anderson again made himself unavailable, due to an apparent knee injury, though he was entered into the lucrative World Team Tennis finals in Charleston, South Carolina, at the same time as the crucial Davis Cup tie.
Even without the SA No 1, however, Laurendeau expected the SA squad - Izak Van Der Merwe, Rik De Voest, Raven Klaasen and debutant Nikala Scholtz - to put up a fight.
De Voest is the top-ranked South African in the tie, rated 173rd in the ATP list.
Canada's team, announced on Tuesday, consists of world No 16 Milos Raonic, Davis Cup veterans Frank Dancevic and Daniel Nestor, the top ranked doubles player in the world, and Vasek Pospisil.
"South Africa are traditionally aggressive players, whether it's at the net or on the baseline," Laurendeau said.
"I think Canada play a similar game but our advantage is we are playing at home and we have more depth than our opponents."