Van der Merwe: My best ever
Izak van der Merwe (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Izak van der Merwe clinched the deciding point that sent hosts South Africa into the World Group playoffs, with the 28-year-old saying that it was the best tennis experience of his life.
Van der Merwe claimed a straight sets victory over Blaz Kavcic in the first reverse singles rubber on Sunday as South Africa claimed three of the first four points, to take an unassailable lead into the final singles match.
Clearly in good spirits Van der Merwe responded to being asked if he was happy with the win: "I wasn't happy at all," he quipped.
He then explained the significance of the win.
"As happy as you can be winning a tennis match. I think it's been one of my best experiences as a tennis player."
Playing as the No 1 for South Africa, Van der Merwe was victorious in all three of his rubbers, including a doubles win with Raven Klaasen.
"I was telling Raven I didn't wanna let anybody play the fifth rubber, I wanted to get the win for us. And whoever would go out there would have less pressure and just go swinging away and play a good match.
"I was really happy I could get through that match and finish the tie." Playing in the three matches took its toll on Van Der Merwe as he sported strapping on his back on the final day.
"After Friday I felt quite tired, and we had a long week of training.
"So by Friday morning I felt I was ready to play but also I was also very tired.
"I got some tightness in my back but that's just usual and I can get through that, and I got some treatment but it was just a precaution."