Davis Cup tie brings in unknowns

2008-07-16 00:00

Emperors Palace is the venue for this BNP Paribas Euro/Africa Zone Group 2 tie and the event from tomorrow morning to Sunday throws up five tennis matches that have no head-to-head history.

“None of us have ever played against each other, singles or doubles,” said Denmark number one Frederik Nielsen at the draw held at the venue yesterday afternoon.

And although the Danes are individually ranked below the South Africans, this factor should add spice to the tie.

The nominations held no surprises. Kevin Anderson and Rik de Voest, the SA singles number one and two players respectively, were named, with SA captain John-Laffnie de Jager also naming Jeff Coetzee and Izak van der Merwe as the home country’s doubles team.

Wimbledon winner Wesley Moodie, who hails from Pinetown, is unavailable for South Africa as he has been advised not to play on hard courts in order for his knee to recover in time for the Beijing Olympics, where he and Coetzee are definite medal prospects.

Nielsen, the Danes’ number one, said the team has benefited from arriving in SA last week.

“We have been able to acclimatise and play on the court, which is perfect; the bounce is good and even, plus it is a big court with lots of space on the sides and at the back.”

The draw sees Anderson against Denmark number two Martin Pedersen from 10 am tomorrow — the tie is live on SuperSport 4 — followed by SA number two Rik de Voest against Denmark’s number one Nielsen thereafter, with all the matches best-of-five sets.

Anderson said it is exciting to play at home and the crowd would spur the South African team on, rather than pressurise them.

“I am happy to be here, my family will be watching, which is special, and at the same time I am looking forward to representing my country at the Beijing Olympics next month.”

Saturday sees SA’s doubles pairing meeting Nielsen and his partner Rasmus Norby at 1.30 pm, while the reverse singles ties will be on Sunday, with the number one seeds starting at 10 am.

Judging by the determination of the respective teams, local tennis fans should be in for a treat.

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