De Jager picks strong squad
John-Laffnie de Jager (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - A relieved, but still a little apprehensive South African Davis Cup captain, John-Laffnie de Jager, said on Friday he was set to announce his strongest line-up next week for the crucial Euro-Africa Group One Final against the Netherlands in Potchefstroom from July 8 to 10.
"The latest information I have from all the leading players," said De Jager about the tie which will earn for the winners a place in the play-offs for next year's elite World Group of the competition, "is that they will all be available for the tie on which so much hinges for South African tennis's future."
And, barring any unforeseen circumstances, this will mean a return to Davis Cup competition after an absence of two years of South African number one, Kevin Anderson, who is currently ranked in the mid-30s in the world.
Anderson lost a gruelling five-set marathon against eventual quarterfinalist Juan Ignacio Chela in the current French Open at Roland Garros, but he performed impressively against the Argentinean clay court specialist and appeared to show no ill-effects of a recent ankle injury.
However, at this stage, it would seem the choice of a number two singles player from either Rik De Voest and Izak van der Merwe and the doubles partner for Wesley Moodie might be the more trying decisions confronting the South African Davis Cup captain.
De Jager is due to travel to England in a week's time to link up with the South African Davis Cup contingent before the start of the Wimbledon Championships - and then return to South Africa with the players for a week's comprehensive training for the fateful tie against the Netherlands.