De Voest also out for SA
Johannesburg - The South African Davis Cup team has received another setback when Rik de Voest also pulled out of the tie against Slovenia in April.
This comes after news broke on Sunday that SA's No 1 player Kevin Anderson had pulled out.
John-Laffnie de Jager, team Captain, confirmed that Anderson and De Voest had both made contact with him over the weekend from the United States, to say that they will not be available to play in the tie taking place from the 6th – 8th April at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex in Soweto.
The South African team is just one Davis Cup win away from playing for a place in the World Group of the competition.
All they will have to do is set aside a Slovenian team in a Euro/Africa Zone Group 1 encounter over the Easter weekend.
South Africa had a bye in the first round and was drawn to play the winners of Slovenia and Denmark. Slovenia defeated Denmark 5-0 in Velenje, Slovenia on 10-12 February. While Slovenia did not have a well-known player on their team against Denmark, Grega Zemlja and Blaz Kavcic turned out to be a two-man demolition team. The pair are ranked at 111 and 112 respectively, although six months ago Kavcic was as high as 72.
A victory against Slovenia will put the SA Davis Cup team into the World Group Playoffs from September 14 to 16. South Africa has never played Slovenia before in a Davis Cup competition, but Slovenia hasreached the Europe/Africa Zone Group I three times, in 1995, 2001 and 2011. Prior to 1993, Slovenian players competed for Yugoslavia.
The Slovenian team has not yet been announced, but should include Zemlja, Kavcic, Aljaz Bedene and Janez Semrajc, who made up the team against Denmark.
The South African team announced to play against Slovenia consists of Izak van der Merwe, Raven Klaasen, Ruan Roelofse and Jean Andersen.
It is a Davis Cup debut for Roelofse and Andersen although both players have in the past been used by De Jager as training partners for the South African team in previous ties so both are familier with Davis Cup territory.
Unfortunately Fritz Wolmarans, who would have been selected, has also made himself unavailable. Having just come out of injury Wolmarans declined to play in the Slovenian tie so that he can work on his fallen ranking.
“It’s unfortunate that Fritz can’t play, but I do understand his position and appreciate that he did not want to jeopardise the team having just recovered from injury” said De Jager.
De Jager expressed that it was disappointing that Anderson and De Voest were unavailable for the important tie, but was quietly confident that the team announced would put in their best efforts and make the country proud.
“Obviously our chances against Slovenia with Kevin and Rik would be far greater, but let’s not take away from the boys that have been selected, remembering that Izak van der Merwe is a defending Soweto Open champion, and Raven Klaasen has just broken into the top 100 ranking in doubles. Also, Ruan Roelofse and Jean Andersen have been moving steadily up the ATP rankings; showing good form on the international circuit.”