WTA Tour

I have a strong team: Grainger

 Chanelle Scheepers (AFP)
Chanelle Scheepers (AFP)

Johannesburg - Ahead of their world group two Fed Cup tie away to Lithuania next week, South African coach Earl Grainger believes his side has the quality to get into the top-tier group of the competition.

"I've got a very well-balanced, strong team.

"I've got experience with youth. We have Chani (Scheepers) also who, when she comes back into the team, will strengthen us enormously," said Grainger in Bedfordview on Thursday.

Since Tuesday, the squad had been hard at work on the courts of the Bedfordview Country Club east of Johannesburg.

"Chani and Chanel (Simmonds) are world class, they're high up in the rankings and have played the best in the world.

"We've got Madri (le Roux) who's also done very well.

"We're definitely heading in the right direction."

Though included in the current squad, the top two South Africans - Scheepers and Simmonds - it would be vital the players to keep turning out for the team.

"Chani and Chanel just have to make themselves available for the ties, and hopefully it won't coincide when they have schedules planned.

"Hopefully when they're available they'll put us in to group one. We're good enough to be in group one."

Grainger was assisted by former WTA player Natalie Grandin in the training camp, and she said she was pleased with the progress of women's tennis in South Africa.

"I always loved playing for South Africa so it's nice to see we have a structure in place now," said Grandin.

"Hopefully the girls can use their knowledge and ability to get South Africa back where they should be.

"In South Africa we lack women's sports. Rugby, cricket and soccer take over.

"Those are male dominated sports.

"There is only hockey and netball really for women so it's nice that tennis is getting exposure."

South Africa Fed Cup squad: Chani Scheepers, Chanel Simmonds, Natasha Fourouclas, Madrie Le Roux, Natalie Grandin, Ilze Hattingh, Michelle Sammons, Lynn Kiro, Katie Poluta, Zani Barnard, Lee Barnard, Theresa Van Zyl, and Janet Koch.

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