Soweto to host Davis Cup tie

2012-02-22 12:56

High-profile tennis will return to Soweto this year when South Africa face Slovenia in a Davis Cup Euro/Africa Group I tie at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre in April.

The South African Tennis Association (Sata) announced in December that the Soweto Open, set to be staged for a fifth time this year, had been called off due to the loss of sponsorship.

Today, however, Sata confirmed the world-renowned township as the venue for the Slovenia clash.

“We are happy to play at high altitude and hopefully the people of Soweto and the rest of Joburg and Gauteng will come and support us,” said South African captain John-Laffnie de Jager.

This will be the second time South Africa have played a Davis Cup tie in Soweto after they secured a 5-0 win over Belarus in 2009.

De Jager was pleased with the choice of venue, with Izak van der Merwe having defeated Davis Cup teammate Rik de Voest in last year’s Soweto Open final.

“The centre court at the Arthur Ashe Stadium has been good to Rik and Izak, with Rik making the semis and finals of the Soweto Open and Izak making the finals and winning the title,” he said.

The South Africans must win the tie to reach the World Group play-offs for the fourth year in succession.

Sata chief executive Ian Smith said they would make the matches as accessible as possible after moving from Potchefstroom, where they played home ties against the Netherlands and Croatia last year.

“It is vital that tennis fans get behind the team and for that reason there will be no charge to come and watch the tie,” Smith said.

“We will make it as easy as possible for people to get there and there will be safe parking available.

“Soweto is a popular tourist destination and coming to support the Davis Cup gives the public a chance of combining good tennis with a real special cultural and historic experience.”

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