Johannesburg - Tennis South Africa on Tuesday announced their strongest possible Fed Cup team, including the country’s top-ranked female player, Chanelle Scheepers, for the Euro/Africa Group 2 tie from February 4-7 in Tallinn, Estonia.
South Africa will face the hosts as well as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Egypt and Slovenia in the round-robin competition to be played at the Tere Tenniscentre.
The team, to be called the KIA SA Fed Cup Team, will be supported by KIA Motors South Africa.
“KIA is excited to be part of the Fed Cup team set up and to facilitate their efforts to progress through the groups to a level that does justice to the talent we have in South Africa,” commented David Sieff, KIA South Africa Marketing Director. “We are also excited to have Chani spearheading the SA attack, and we wish the team every success on the tour”.
Scheepers achieved a career-high singles ranking of 37 in 2011 when she won the WTA title in Guangzhou, China. She is currently ranked 77 in the world, and is back on the SA Fed Cup team for the first time in 10 years.
“I’m so happy to be able to join the team again,” said Scheepers. “I love representing South Africa when I play around the world and it’s even more exciting to be able to do that in a team format with great young players coming up”.
South African captain Earl Grainger named Chanel Simmonds, Ilze Hattingh, and Michelle Sammons as the three other players to join Scheepers on the team.
“I am delighted that Chani made herself available to play for South Africa. Chani is a great player and will bring so much respect and experience to the South African team,” said Grainger.
Last year South Africa failed to gain promotion to Euro/Africa Group 1 during their Fed Cup in Lithuania. With Scheepers in the side, Grainger believes that the team has a good chance of gaining promotion this year.
“Without doubt Chani will give us our best chance of promotion,” said Grainger. “With her vast experience, we know that our chances are the best ever and, with Chani part of the team, my options of selection as Coach are greater.”
Tennis South Africa confirmed that the team would be having a pre-departure camp from January 28 at the Bedfordview Country Club before heading to Estonia on January 31.
South African team rankings (singles/doubles):
Chanelle Scheepers; Singles 81, Doubles: 127
Chanel Simmonds; Singles 309, Doubles: 258
Ilze Hattingh; Singles 656, Doubles: 526
Michelle Sammons; Singles 674, Doubles: 348