from DION HENRICK in Cape Town
South Africa Bureau
CAPE TOWN, (CAJ News) – ON paper, recently-relegated South Africa’s next Davis Cup assignment will be a stroll in the park.
Three factors are projected to work in favour of the South Africans against Luxembourg in the away tie.
Firstly, in the first and only meeting thus far in the Davis Cup, hosts South Africa whitewashed Luxembourg 5-0 in 2016 at Irene Country Club in Pretoria.
The world rankings favour South Africa too. ‘Mzansi’ is ranked 52nd on the Davis Cup standings, ahead of Luxembourg at 76th.
In addition, the North-western Europe country does not have a player listed inside the highest 700 globally, unlike SA!
“Luckily for us, on paper, Luxenbourg have no players currently ranked in the singles top 700, so that makes it a little easier,” admitted captain, Christo van Rensburg.
The skipper however believes the fact that South Africa will be playing away still makes it a tricky encounter.
Also, it is not clear if the hosts will choose to play on grass or hard-court surface.
This will be the fourth tie for South Africa with van Rensburg as a Davis Cup captain.
“And we are playing away, again,” he said.
“So, we will have to wait until closer to the time to see what surface Luxembourg will pick.”
Van Rensburg is also crossing his fingers his top-ranked player, Lloyd Harris, would be ready by February when the matches resume, coming back from an injury.
Boasting a career high ranking of 31, the 25-year-old Capetonian will miss the remainder of 2022 because of a right wrist injury.
“We will see how his recovery progress is going and work on the rest of the team to face Luxenbourg,” van Rensburg said.
South Africa are reeling from their relegation to the World Group II Play-offs last weekend, following a 3-0 loss away to Bulgaria.
The Davis Cup is the premier international team event in men’s tennis.
– CAJ News