ATP Tour

Anderson vital for SA's World Team Cup hopes

Kevin Anderson (AP)
Kevin Anderson (AP)

Cape Town - It is a realistic prospect right now, with South Africa possibly participating in a first major tennis team event in almost 20 years when the ATP World Team Cup is launched in Australia early next year.

And On Sunday, South African-born, Australian Tennis Association CEO and dynamic Australian Open tournament director, Craig Tiley - under whose aegis the new tournament will be run - provided information as to why South Africa's inclusion is dependent heavily in more than one way on the big-serving shoulders of Kevin Anderson.

"The 24 countries included in the World Team Cup in January," explained Tiley, "will be chosen on the basis of players' world rankings somewhere around September when the teams are finalised.

"With Anderson presently rated seventh in the world singles rankings, Lloyd Harris in the top 100 and Raven Klaasen among the leading 20 doubles players in the world included," added Tiley, "South Africa would be among the countries invited to participate if the teams were chosen right now. But a lot can change in six months, with the unavailability of players also affecting any country's inclusion."

And this factor raises another issue regarding Anderson, with South Africa's number one having declined to represent the country in the Davis Cup during the past eight years.

However, the situation regarding the World Team Cup is substantially different in that it will not materially affect individual tournaments on the ATP calendar and, in fact, is positioned as an ideal warm-up for the Australian Open Grand Slam extravaganza and could, therefore, be viewed differently by Anderson.

As to whether Anderson would make himself available for the World Team Cup, Tiley said as in the case of a number of other top players, he could not say categorically right now whether he would consider participating or not.

"But I'm pretty sure a cross-section of the world's best players will be in the event that will be staged in three cities, namely Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney, and has all the ingredients to be an instant success."

Tiley also disclosed that the eventual 24 countries chosen for the World Team Cup would have the option of naming up to five players in their team - and with singles and doubles matches in each tie three or four players per team is most likely.

As to South Africa's position after only participating in the lower echelons of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup in recent years, Tennis South Africa will be holding thumbs that Anderson not only makes himself available for the World Team Cup, but also holds onto something akin to his current world ranking.

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