De Jager banks on Scheepers

2012-02-22 15:07
John-Laffnie de Jager (File)

Johannesburg - South Africa's Fed Cup captain, John-Laffnie de Jager, hopes the country's No 1 women's player, Chanelle Scheepers, will return after a seven-year absence for the Euro-Africa Group Two tournament in Egypt in April.

Da Jager, who doubles as South Africa's Davis Cup captain, said on Wednesday that Scheepers had set her sights on the uncertain prospect of competing at this year's London Olympic Games.

Scheepers, who has not played in the Fed Cup since 2005, would only make herself available for the team competition if the ITF allowed her to compete at the Games.

"Based on her playing record, Chani has the credentials to be included among the Olympic Games entries," De Jager said.

"But the ITF have stipulated that only players who have competed in the Fed Cup in two of the last three years will be eligible - and this is the problem."

De Jager said SATA had approached the ITF to grant Scheepers, the world No 47, special dispensation for the Olympics if she played in this year's team competition in Cairo.

"Chani would in all likelihood be the world's highest-ranked player in Egypt," De Jager said.

"With her in the team we would have an excellent chance of gaining promotion to next year's Euro-Africa Group One.

"Without her it could be a battle even with all our other leading players available."

The South African team will in all likelihood include top prospect Channelle Simmonds and the world's 28th-ranked doubles specialist, Natalie Grandin, who could form a potentially match-winning combination with Scheepers.

"I'm hoping Chani will see fit to help South Africa gain Fed Cup promotion, whether her Olympic participation is stymied or not," De Jager said.

"It would be a much-needed boost for women's tennis in the country."

Other nations which will seek one of the two Fed Cup promotion places in Cairo are Denmark, Finland, Georgia, Latvia, Montenegro and Turkey.

The seven countries will be divided into groups of three and four teams.

The top two in each group will compete in semi-finals, with the winners securing places in next year's Euro-Africa Group One.

Read more on:    fed cup  |  john-laffnie de jager

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