Tennis

Tough Davis Cup draw for SA

2011-07-13 16:09
Kevin Anderson (File)

Johannesburg - South Africa were drawn on Wednesday to host Croatia in their Davis Cup World Group play-off from September 16 to 18.

The deadline for the choice of venue is August 2.

The South Africans are unseeded in the draw while Croatia are one of the eight seeded teams.

Croatia, who can call on Ivan Ljubicic, Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig will be heavy favourites for the tie.

Ljubicic is the highest-ranked Croatian player sitting at 31 on the ATP singles rankings while Cilic is just one place behind him. Dodig is ranked 42nd.

They could also draw on the big-serving 6ft10 inch Ivo Karlovic, currently ranked 129th.

South Africa's Kevin Anderson, who won all three of his matches in the recent Euro-Africa Group One qualifier against the Netherlands in Potchefstroom, is the only player in the team ranked in the top 100 at number 35.

Izak van der Merwe is ranked 123rd and Rik de Voest 130th while doubles specialist Wesley Moodie is at 36th in the doubles rankings.

Captain John-Laffnie de Jager will have to decide on the venue for the tie and will almost certainly go for another high altitude location which best suits the SA team.

Croatia and South Africa have never before met in Davis Cup tennis.

Despite the Croatians boasting far more firepower than the South Africans, De Jager feels the draw is favourable for the home team.

"At this stage every country is tough and promises to field its best possible team to have the best possible chance of being part of the World Group in 2012. Croatia are a challenge and they won the title only six years ago, but, with us playing at home we have the advantage and with Kevin Anderson indicating his availability we should be at full strength so we certainly are in with a big chance," said de Jager.

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