ATP Tour

SA Davis Cup team unchanged for Israel tie

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Marcos Ondruska (Photo credit: BLD Communications)
Marcos Ondruska (Photo credit: BLD Communications)

Cape Town -  South African Davis Cup captain Marcos Ondruska has named an unchanged squad to take on Israel at Irene Country Club outside Pretoria on February 2-3.

The SA squad selected comprises Lloyd Harris, Nik Scholtz, Ruan Roelofse, Raven Klaasen and Tucker Vorster.

Former elite doubles player, and current ATP tour coach, Jeff Coetzee, will act as the coaching consultant for the team.

Meanwhile, two of the country’s most promising junior players - Philip Henning and Siphos Montsi - will join the squad as hitting partners in order to gain Davis Cup experience.

Henning, 17, is currently in Australia preparing to play in the Junior Australian Open. Last week the youngster from Bloemfontein impressed by qualifying for the Traralgon Junior International, beating world No 8 ranked junior, Nicolas Mejia of Colombia, in the opening round.

Montsi, 18, who was a hitting partner with the squad during last year’s Davis Cup home tie against Slovenia, also rose to prominence Down Under when his performances at the 2017 Junior Australian Open saw him tipped as a future star by Judy Murray, the mother of former world No 1 Andy.

Ondruska told the media on a conference call from Seattle, USA on Wednesday that consistency was key to the recent success of the team and the players named had done South Africa proud in 2017.

"I think it’s going to be the most interesting tie that we've played in the recent past. The guys in the squad are as ready as they can be. They have had a good December and January getting their bodies ready for the demands of Davis Cup as well as their year around tournament play. We look forward to the first round and we’ll bring the performance we've been bringing to the table for an exciting tie," Ondruska said.

Harris, ranked 291 in the ATP world rankings, is South Africa’s second highest ranked world singles player behind Kevin Anderson (No 12). This is Harris’ sixth Davis Cup selection. Harris played a key role in South Africa’s win over Denmark in Aarhus, Denmark last year by winning both his singles rubbers which secured South Africa a 3-1 promotional victory. During 2017, Harris was undefeated in Davis Cup winning all six of his singles rubbers, in the three ties played.

Scholtz is likely to be nominated by Ondruska as the team’s second singles player. The 26-year-old, ranked 326 in the ATP world rankings, is enjoying a fine run of form, having reached a Futures final in Egypt, before capturing two Futures titles in Stellenbosch at the end of last year.

Klaasen (ranked 25 in the ATP world doubles rankings) and Roelofse (ranked 143 in doubles) are the doubles specialists in the team. The duo have formed a formidable Davis Cup combination and are unbeaten in the six matches they have played together.

Pretoria-born Vorster completes the squad. He has played five ties for South Africa (in both singles and doubles) and is experienced back-up for the team. 

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