ATP Tour

After 5 years at the helm, Marcos Ondruska won't re-apply for SA Davis Cup position

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Marcos Ondruska ahead of a Davis Cup tie between South Africa and Bulgaria at the Kelvin Grove Club in Cape Town on 10 September 2019.
Marcos Ondruska ahead of a Davis Cup tie between South Africa and Bulgaria at the Kelvin Grove Club in Cape Town on 10 September 2019.
Peter Heeger/Gallo Images
  • Marcos Ondruska says he will not re-apply for the SA Davis Cup captaincy position.
  • The USA-based Ondruska has filled the role for the past five years.
  • The former ATP player feels the time is right for "someone else to take up the challenge".

He described it as "a phenomenal experience."

Marcos Ondruska has stepped down as South African Davis Cup captain after five years of mixed fortunes in which he spearheaded the country's attempts to restore its eminent previous status in the world's major tennis team competition.

"No I won't be re-applying for the position," revealed the 47-year-old Ondruska from his coaching and administrative headquarters in the United States on Monday after Tennis South Africa called for applications to fill both the Davis Cup and the renamed Billie Jean King Cup women's captaincy position, currently held by Rene Plant.

Ondruska had previously enjoyed a close association with the Davis Cup during his playing career, with a 13-7 singles record from the 11 ties in which he participated.

But, perhaps, he caused his greatest stir on the international team tennis stage when he beat former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic in the opening round of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta in the United States.

He also reached a respected world singles ranking of 27th and was considered an ideal choice to revive South Africa's fortunes in the Davis Cup.

But as team captain he was unable to coerce top South African player, Kevin Anderson, to make himself available for the Davis Cup after years of a self-imposed exile from the competition.

"We stood at a low point when I took over," said Ondruska, "and I was happy to step up and help out in making tennis an important factor in South Africa's lifestyle and striving to regain a place in the prestige World Group of the Davis Cup, which the country had won in the past.

"We reached the Euro-Africa Group One segment at one point," he added, "but now it is time for someone else to take up the challenge of becoming Davis Cup team captain - although I will remain open to help out in some way or other should the occasion arise."

TSA will close applications for the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup captaincy positions in mid-October and announce the successful candidates for four-year contracts in December.

The Davis Cup choice now seems wide open following Ondruska's backing down, although it has been suggested current South African director of tennis, Jeff Coetzee, could play some role in the issue.

But Coetzee also continues as the coach of Colombia's No 1-ranked world doubles pairing of Jean Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah and clearly has his hands full.

TSA, in the interim, has provided a clue to its thinking by stating it will be committed to the government's Department of Sport's policy on transformation in making their choices.

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