Pretoria - South African Davis Cup captain Marcos Ondruska confirmed that former South African world top ten player, Wayne Ferreira, would act as a consultant to the Davis Cup team.
Ondruska confirmed this at the pre-draw media conference held on Tuesday at the Irene Country Club in Pretoria.
South Africa will play Estonia in the Euro Africa Group II tie this coming weekend at Irene Country Club.
“I am delighted to confirm that Wayne has agreed to act as a consultant to me and the team in Davis Cup and we look forward to him helping us with our aims and objectives to get the country back into the World Group,” said Ondruska.
Ferreira said that he was delighted to be able to help his ‘best friend’ Ondruska out and said that Tennis South Africa (TSA) was wise in appointing Ondruska as Davis Cup captain.
“Marcos has a wealth of experience under his belt not only as a player but more so as a Davis Cup player. We are best of friends and for a long time Marcos has been speaking to be about giving something meaningful back to the game in his home country and I wanted to help him out in his role as Davis Cup captain, so I agreed to take on the consultant role.”
“We collectively have a plan for Davis Cup in South Africa and know exactly where we want to be in a few years’ time. I hope to play a role in the success of those objectives, have seen the talent we have on offer that can boost the Davis Cup team efforts and combined with the experience of the older players, lots can be achieved,” added former world number 6 Ferreira.
Ondruska said that that the mood in his squad was good since jetting into the country on Sunday. “We are delighted to be back as a team at Irene Country Club, a fantastic venue that has been very kind to us and offered us incredible service and hospitality.”
Raven Klaasen said he was happy to be back playing in the country wearing the green and gold. “Davis Cup is really special to me and an important part of my schedule. When you wear the green and gold and go onto court is very different as you not only playing for yourself, but your team and country.”
Klaasen, the country’s top ranked doubles player (13) is expected to spearhead the South African doubles challenge on Saturday with Ruan Roelofse.
Lloyd Harris said he was in good shape after a long end season break and good preparation following the break. “I had a long hard 2016 where I played a lot of matches and had great success. I had a good break and then good preparation for the new season and feel I am in the best shape I have ever been and ready to give it my all this weekend.” Harris is the highest ranked South African singles player (284) in the team and should be named by Ondruska as the country's number one singles nomination at the official draw on Thursday.
Ondruska has not decided on who he will play in the number two singles spot with hometown boy Tucker Vorster and Nik Scholtz contenders. “It’s still too early for me to make a call on my final line up. We have a few more days of practise which will allow me the chance to see the form of the players and make my final decision,” said Ondruska.
Estonia, who arrived in the country on Sunday - have had little time to feel the court and altitude due to the rain over Gauteng on Monday.
Jürgen Zopp, Estonia’s top ranked player (317), said that the rain had affected their preparation but they would double up on practise Tuesday and Wednesday to be best prepared come tie day Friday. “We all have never been to South Africa and are not accustomed to altitude so we going to need to work hard to be prepared,” said Zopp.
Estonian captain, Ekke Tiidemann, commented: "Our team is a mixture of experience and youth and I feel we have a good synergy in the team. I feel very happy that we have the best possible team and I'm thankful for the players making themselves available for the tie to represent their country. I think the tie will be very interesting, team South Africa has also a good team, Lloyd has had some great results at the Futures level and Raven Klaasen with his level in doubles makes South Africa a very complete team."