Pretoria - Tennis South Africa on Tuesday announced its best possible Davis Cup squad, including the country’s top doubles player, Raven Klaasen, to play Estonia in the upcoming Euro/Africa Group 2 tie at Irene Country Club.
The tie, to be played from February 3 to 5, will see South Africa and Estonia doing battle for the first time in Davis Cup competition.
South African captain Marcos Ondruska named Klaasen, Lloyd Harris, Nik Scholtz, Tucker Vorster and Ruan Roelofse in his five-man squad. Ondruska also confirmed that Dean O’Brien would join the squad as a practice partner for the week at Irene.
Ten days ahead of the tie, Ondruska will have to nominate a four-man team from his squad. After naming that four-man team, the captain may make changes to the team originally nominated up to one hour before the draw on Thursday, February 2.
Harris achieved a career-high singles ranking of 266 in November 2016 and recently won a record six Futures titles on the trot after a whitewash of three title wins at the Futures event in Stellenbosch late last year. He is currently ranked 282 in the world.
Klaasen, South Africa’s most celebrated doubles player in recent years, broke into the world’s top 10 in July of 2016. Together with his partner Rajeev Ram of the USA, Klaasen reached the final of the ATP World Tour Masters in London in November of last year. Klaasen is presently ranked 11 and with Ram are the 11th-ranked team in world tennis in the race to London.
“I am very excited about the 2017 Davis Cup campaign” said Ondruska. “There are a lot of items that were worked on last year that are starting to come together this year. The team is strong and the guys in the team are better players this year than they were last year. The goal is to work our way this year into the Euro/Africa Zone Group 1 section for 2018, and then into the World Group.”
Last year South Africa failed to gain promotion to Euro/Africa Group 1 after losing 3-2 away to Lithuania in round two but secured their Group 2 spot with a 5-0 over Luxembourg at Irene in round 1.
South African squad rankings (singles/doubles):
Lloyd Harris: Singles 284, Doubles 793
Nik Scholtz: Singles 516, Doubles 333
Tucker Vorster: Singles 636, Doubles 269
Raven Klaasen: Doubles 13
Ruan Roelofse: Doubles 175