Cape Town - It was not surprising that a leading TSA official sounded
distinctly pessimistic over the possibility of South African No 1 tennis
player Kevin Anderson ending his self-imposed exile from Davis Cup competition
of more than six years in next month's critical Euro-Africa Group One tie
against Israel at the Irene Country Club on the outskirts of Pretoria.
"After Anderson has raked in more than R27 million in
prize money from tournaments in the last few months playing for what amounts
relatively to peanuts in the Davis Cup might not appear particularly appetising," was the officials' gloomy reasoning, "especially as the
Australian Open, with millions more in prize money at stake, will be staged
immediately before the Davis Cup tie."
A reasonable viewpoint if one takes into account the world's No 14's approach to the Davis Cup over a lengthy period, this despite
favourable, but vague comments from Anderson in recent months that he is not
averse to playing in the Davis Cup again.
What is more, Anderson's impressive form early in the New
Year and a spate of injuries to an unusually large number of the world's top
players presents the big-serving South African with an inviting opportunity of
securing a prized world top 10 ranking.
Currently in India for his first official ATP
tournament in 2018 and having reached the semi-finals, the 31-year-old
Anderson achieved the best result of his career by reaching the final of the
United States grand slam tournament in September before going down to Rafael Nadal,
but earning approximately R23 million in the process.
And the money continued to roll in for Anderson while
winning the six-man exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi last week with a
pay cheque of approximately R4 million.
So the paradoxical assessment could be espoused that
the more success Anderson has achieved recently the less likely is the prospect
of him making himself available to play against Israel.
The bitter irony of this for embattled South African
tennis is that with Anderson in harness the home team would be strong
favourites to beat Israel and as a minimum result ensure the Euro-Africa Group
One place remains secure following promotion from Group Two last
year, but without the big-serving kingpin would effectively only have a 50-50 chance
against a tricky Israeli combination.