Pretoria – Davis Cup stalwart Rik de Voest will lead the South African tennis challenge against Monaco in this weekend's Euro-Africa Group Two tie in Centurion.
South Africa Davis Cup captain John-Laffnie de Jager revealed at Thursday's draw in Centurion that De Voest would lead a team of four, which includes Australian Open doubles runner-up Raven Klaasen, Nikala Scholtz and Ruan Roelofse.
“Winning this tie this weekend is very important because we want to move forward, we don't want to go backwards, so we need to win this and it's the bottom line,” De Jager said.
“We have a good team here and are confident that we will do well this weekend.”
De Voest, who is ranked 170th in the world, would face Monaco's Davis cup debutante Romain Arneodo in the opening match on Friday on the hard court at the Irene Country club.
After that match, Scholtz would take on Monaco's number one singles player, Benjamin Balleret.
“I look forward to playing first on Saturday, it's always great when your number one can start off and ideally your number one can give you a lead,” De Voest said.
“I always feel I perform when I'm in South Africa, I do lift my game because I love playing in a team environment and I think we have a great team here.
“I hope to play well and give us a lead which will take the pressure off Nikala for his match and he can go out and play happily and freely.”
Roelofse would partner Klaasen in Saturday's doubles match where they woul face Monaco's Thomas Oger and Guilluame Couillard.
Klaasen, who comes into the encounter as a more confident player following his good run at the Australian Open, said he looked to maintain his form.
“Following my performance at the Open, there are expectations from the public and for me it's a privilege to be in that position,” Klaasen said.
“A few years ago there was very little expectation from me, so that's a position that I'm ready to occupy.
“It's my job now not to get complacent and get out there and keep proving to people and to myself that I'm good enough to merit that position.”
On Sunday, in the reverse singles, De Voest would be up against Balleret, while Scholtz takes on Arneodo in the last match of the tie.
Teams: South Africa: Rik de Voest, Nikala Scholtz, Raven Klaasen, Ruan Roelofse.
Captain: John-Laffnie de Jager.
Monaco: Benjamin Balleret, Romain Arneodo, Thomas Oger, Guilluame Couillard.
Captain: Christophe Boggetti. – Sapa