Centurion – South African Davis Cup tennis captain John-Laffnie de Jager says he is confident ahead of the Euro-Africa Group Two tie against Monaco at the Irene Country Club in Centurion, starting on Friday.
The team, which includes Australian open men's doubles runner-up Raven Klaasen, Rik de Voest, Izak van der Merwe and Ruan Roelofse had their first practice session at the country club on Monday, without Nikala Scholtz, who was due to arrive later that evening.
“This is the most experienced Davis Cup team that we have. These guys have won a lot of ties,” De Jager said.
“We have a lot of confidence playing in South Africa, playing at home with the high altitude.
“This is also a great venue. We have been impressed with the way they've treated us and we like the hard court, so we're looking forward to the weekend, it's going to be a lot of fun.”
De Jager did not reveal who he would play in the singles and doubles this weekend, and said he would make his final decision before the official draw on Thursday.
“I have a bit of an idea on the team for the weekend, but with Nikala showing up late, I have to just wait.
“I always try and tell the guys on Wednesday night what's going to happen, but I'm going to wait until the last minute to finalise what we're going to do on the weekend.
“We don't have a lot of sessions before I have to name the team on Thursday, so for the next two days Nikala will have to get used to the high altitude and convince me that he's the guy that's going to play one of the singles matches on Friday.”
Monaco and South Africa have played each other twice before, with South Africa winning both ties.
De Voest, a Davis Cup stalwart, believes their home ground advantage gives South Africa the edge over the visitors.
“This is a fairly similar team to the one we faced a few years ago and it came down to the final match and I was happy to get through on that occasion,” he said.
“This time around, we're playing on our courts in our conditions and so this is definitely to our advantage.
“We definitely have an experienced team and I think we're high favourites especially in the doubles.
“We are a high altitude team and we're playing to our advantage so we just need to execute on the weekend.”
South Africa's top tennis player Kevin Anderson, who was knocked out in the fourth round of the Australian Open after going down to his Czech nemesis Tomas Berdych, remains absent from the Davis Cup team. – Sapa