Davis Cup team poser for De Jager

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iol spt jan24 Tennis Generic REUTERS South African Davis Cup captain John-Laffnie de Jager said he was confronted with a poser in finalising his team for next week's Euro-Africa Group Two tie against Monaco.

Johannesburg – South African Davis Cup captain John-Laffnie de Jager on Friday said he was confronted with a poser in finalising his team for next week's Euro-Africa Group Two tie against Monaco in Pretoria.

The South African captain submitted the names of Rik de Voest, Nikala Scholtz, Raven Klaasen and Izak van der Merwe to the ITF as the designated four players who will represent South Africa at the Irene Country Club from January 31 to February 2.

“This was only done in accordance with the ITF rule that the four names had to be submitted to the international body 10 days before a Davis Cup event,” De Jager said.

“The rules also stipulate one change can be made to this original choice when the draw is made 24 hours before the start of the tie on Friday and that is when I will actually make my final decision.”

De Jager earlier in the week named Ruan Roelofse in the five-man squad from where the final team would emerge.

De Voest is certain to be nominated as the number one singles player, with in-form Australian Open finalist Klaasen and Van de Merwe earmarked as the doubles combination.

This leaves the 954th world-ranked Scholtz and 733rd-ranked Roelofse as the contenders for the second singles berth.

Scholtz is on a scholarship in the United States and his commitments to Davis Cup would cut into his ATP schedule where world-ranking points are accumulated.

Also, a lingering concern for De Jager is if Van der Merwe comes through next week's strenuous build-up for the Davis Cup tie without any ill-effect after being out of the game for more than nine months following foot and ankle surgery.

Should any doubts exist over Van der Merwe's fitness, both Scholtz and Roelofse could find themselves in the final team, with a revised doubles pairing also coming into question.

The South African players, along with those from Monaco, are already assembling at the Irene Club for practice sessions, with only Klaasen expected to be delayed as a result of his appearance, with America's Eric Butorac, in the Australian Open men's doubles final at Melbourne Park on Saturday against Sweden's Robert Lindstedt and Poland's Lukasz Kubot. – Sapa

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