News24

Norval to help SA doubles team

2004-04-06 14:04

Johannesburg - Jeff Coetzee and Chris Haggard will not be lacking expertise in their corner when they take on the Slovakian doubles team at the Euro/Africa Zone Group One Davis Cup tie at the Wanderers Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

Pietie Norval, the 2000 world champion with American Don Johnson, has been brought in to work with the SA doubles pairing ahead of the all-important tie. The winners of this weekend's encounter will earn a playoff berth for a place in next year's World Group.

Norval was forced into retirement shortly after winning the World Doubles title in Bangalore, India, following a dune buggy accident.

Since then he has been coaching some of the top juniors at the Spier Tennis Academy in Stellenbosch.

"I was up here for a couple of junior tournaments and I asked (SA coach) Kevin Curren if I could help out with the doubles guys."

Curren said he was delighted with the offer of assistance. "I have always had a policy of inclusiveness and if a guy like Pietie is willing to help, I am keen to have him around."

Haggard added that it was "huge" to have Norval working with them.

"He has such a wealth of experience and knowledge that it can only work in our favour." He believes Dominic Hrbaty and Karol Beck are their likely opponents in Saturday's pivotal rubber but Slovakian coach Miroslav Mecir is not giving anything away.

"The doubles match is very special in Davis Cup, but at this stage I am not yet sure who going to play. Dominic (Hrbaty) plays good doubles but then so do all my players.

"I can change my team up to one hour before the start of play on Saturday so I have plenty time still to think about that," said Mecir.