Kevin Anderson opts out of Davis Cup

2009-02-19 00:00

SOUTH Africa's top-ranked tennis player, Kevin Anderson, has decided not to play for his country in the Euro-Africa Group One Davis Cup tie against Macedonia.

Anderson's absence is a blow to the team for the event that takes place at the Emperors Palace in Johannesburg from March 6 to 8. However, South Africa, recently promoted to Group 1, should still be too strong for their opponents from the tiny country of two million in their quest for promotion to the prestigious, top-rung Davis Cup World Group that includes heavyweights like reigning champions Spain.

Anderson declared himself unavailable because a hectic tournament programme in the U.S. would necessitate him shuttling back and forth from South Africa in order to fulfil his commitments. However, Rik de Voest, in a similar predicament, has elected to serve his country and will lead the SA team against tennis minnows Macedonia.

Although Macedonia have yet to announce a squad, their top-ranked player, Pedrag Rusevski, is rated a modest 825th in the world - and this should instill little fear into the hearts of De Voest (ranked 165th), Izak van der Merwe (262nd), and Raven Klaasen and company.

However, in announcing the South African line-up for the Emperors Palace event, SA Tennis Association CEO Ian Smith warned that Macedonia has regularly performed above expectations in Davis Cup competition "and should not be underrated".

While South Africa's singles pair will be chosen from De Voest, Van der Merwe and Klaasen, all of whom performed impressively in the recent South African Open at Montecasino, the doubles combination is sure to comprise the eighth world-ranked couple of Jeff Coetzee and Wesley Moodie.

SA DAVIS CUP TEAM: Rik de Voest, Izak van der Merwe, Raven Klaasen, Jeff Coetzee and Wesley Moodie. Non-playing captain: John-Laffnie de Jager.

* Jonathan Cook will be at Emperors Palace for the Davis Cup tie.

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