Tennis SA remains optimistic

2012-09-19 20:27
Tennis SA CEO Ian Smith (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Tennis SA (TSA) remains optimistic about its ability to host future Davis Cup World Group playoffs despite its current financial woes.

The federation was initially awarded the rights to host the playoff between South Africa and Canada at the weekend but requested for the tie to be moved to Montreal due to financial constraints.

"We don't want to give a tie away again [if we reach the playoffs]. We will have to play it here," TSA chief executive Ian Smith said ahead of the draw for the 2013 competition, which was held on Wednesday.

"We lose money every time we play in South Africa.

"Hosting a single (World Group) event costs in the region of R1.5m and now going forward we just have to find the money.

"Giving away our right to host is not ideal for the sport.

"It took a couple of weeks of debating at board level and at the end of the day you are running a business.

"It was purely based on business sense and we had to act in the best interests of the game going forward."

Little or no money had been forthcoming in recent years, Smith said, and this has placed great challenges on the national governing body for the sport.

"Sports have been capped for the next year by the Lotto Board and the funding we get won't cover the Davis Cup," he said.

Smith said TSA was pleased with the SA team's performance at the weekend, despite losing 4-1 against the Canadians.

South Africa were without the services of the country's top-ranked player, Kevin Anderson, as Smith said the federation could not reach his financial demands, and No 2 Rik de Voest, who picked up a wrist injury on the eve of the tie.

"I think they did ok," Smith said.

"I don't want to single anyone out, but (21-year-old debutant) Nikala Scholtz punched way above his weight.

"I think he did really well, as did the doubles team (of Izak van der Merwe and Raven Klaasen, who won the only point for the tourists).

"Rik's injury was unfortunate, because he's a scrapper, and it was always going to be difficult without Kevin."

South Africa will play in the Euro-Africa Group One division of the Davis Cup again next season after losing out in the World Group playoffs for the fourth year in a row.

The team has been given a bye in the first round and will play the winners of Slovenia and Poland from April 5 to 7 next year in the second round of ties.

Read more on:    davis cup  |  ian smith  |  tennis

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