Cape Town - Tennis South Africa president and acting CEO Gavin
Crookes is off to next week's French Open at Roland Garros hoping to
persuade the world's 16-ranked Kevin Anderson to end a self-imposed exile of more than three years
from Davis Cup competition.
South Africa are due to play Ireland in a critical Davis
Cup tie at the Irene Country Club on the outskirts of Pretoria in early July
and Anderson's presence could be critical in avoiding relegation to what would
effectively be the fourth tier of the competition.
"I'll be in Paris on ITF business and to watch the
tennis," said Crookes. "But I will also be having discussions with
Kevin and his management and by the time I return to South Africa in early June.
I should have an answer on his Davis Cup availability."
Crookes has an ace
up his sleeve this time. In line with an ITF ruling, Anderson will have to play
in the tie against Ireland - and a further Davis Cup match next year - in order to be eligible to
compete in next year's Olympic Games in Brazil.
In a nutshell, South Africa would be firm favourites to
overcome the modest Irish with Anderson in the squad. But without him the tie
could hang in the balance, with Ireland's top two players ranked higher than
second-best South African Tucker Vorster (364th) and Fritz Wolmarans, who
currently occupies a 430th world ranking position.
Against the positive aspects for Anderson's Davis Cup
return is the fact that the Ireland tie comes immediately after the Wimbledon
championships and this could influence an ultimate decision.
Also the ongoing financial issue with a TSA organisation
who are not endowed with great wealth could again be a factor for the 6ft 8in
"Obviously we would love to have Kevin in the squad," says Crookes.
"But I'm not jumping the gun. Let's just wait and
Meanwhile, Anderson was on Friday drawn to play 72nd-ranked
American Tim Smyczek in the first round of the French Open in which he will be
competing to preserve the substantial ATP ranking points he gained while
reaching the fourth round at Roland Garros last year.