Lisbon, Portugal – After two days of working out with the South Africa team, captain Marcos Ondruska feels the players are in their best possible shape yet ahead of the weekend's upcoming Euro Africa Group 1 play-off Davis Cup tie against Portugal, starting on Friday.
Speaking at Wednesday afternoon's pre-draw press conference at the tie venue, Club Interncional de Football, in Lisbon, Portugal, Ondruska said he is very pleased with the condition of the players.
"It's safe to say that as a group they are in the best possible condition. Philip Henning was the last player to arrive this morning, we have had some good practise sessions on the clay and the players are healthy and ready to play," said Ondruska.
"We have been lucky to have the indoor clay facilities to practise on with the weather being temperamental so we have not lost out on important clay court time since we arrived in Lisbon this past weekend.
"Today we managed to get a hit on the match court and it plays a bit slower than the indoor courts so we will need to make slight adjustments but I'm confident that we will be ready for the tie come Friday. These players campaign around the world and encounter various conditions and they learn to adapt.
"We expected Portugal as hosts to hand us a slower surface. That’s their home advantage. So my team are adjusting their mind set and settling well to the clay and conditions.”
Ondruska concluded by saying that the hospitality from the hosts had been incredible since arrival and applauded the Portuguese authorities for that.”
Portugal have fielded their strongest possible side to play South Africa and their captain Nuno Marques said that with South Africa being such a strong team they had to use all the advantages a host country was allowed.
"Red clay suits our players because we have played all our home ties on clay, a surface our players grew up on and are comfortable on.
"Portugal have lost badly to South Africa in Durban in 2003 and we are really happy to be playing this important tie at home. Lloyd Harris is the danger man, he is in great form and has played some impressive tennis in the last few months and knows how to play well on clay. The South African doubles team is strong as always South Africa have strength and advantage in the doubles rubber. We know that we are in for tough a tie this weekend."