De Voest to play last Davis Cup tie

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iol spt mar11 Rik De Voest Gallo Images Davis Cup stalwart Rik de Voest will play his last tie for South Africa in this weekend's Euro-Africa Group Two encounter against Lithuania. Photo: by Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images

Pretoria - Davis Cup stalwart Rik de Voest will play his last tie for South Africa in this weekend's Euro-Africa Group Two encounter against Lithuania in Pretoria.

De Voest confirmed his retirement from Davis Cup tennis during the pre-draw media conference at the Irene Country Club on Tuesday.

“This is my 20th Davis Cup tie I will be playing for my country and it's fitting here at my home club in Irene, I play that tie and call time on my Davis Cup duties,” De Voest said.

“It's been a memorable journey and I am very proud of what I have achieved.”

De Voest confirmed he would retire from professional tennis in the next few months.

“My wife Carolyn (a Canadian) has just given birth to our first child Morgan and my life has changed. I am now a family man with new goals, objectives and priorities and my last tournament will be in my new home city, Vancouver, Canada.”

The 33-year-old is in line to receive the Davis Cup Commitment Award during the second round tie. He will be one of only four South African players to have played 20 or more ties for their country. Cliff Drysdale, Frew McMillan and Wayne Ferreira were the other South African players to have achieved this feat.

Meanwhile, South African captain John-Laffnie de Jager said his team was well prepared for the tie, but would not confirm who would be his second singles player.

“I have told all the boys that the second spot is up for grabs and whoever performs best this week will be able to fill that spot” De Jager said.

He has until Thursday to name his final four players out of his five-man squad.

De Voest and doubles specialist Raven Klaasen were given choices, but the remaining two spots would be filled by Dean O'Brien, Jean Andersen or Ruan Roelofse.

Lithuanian captain Rimvydas Mugevicius said his team was adapting well to the altitude and hitting the ball better each day.

Ricardos Berankis, the top ranked Lithuanian player, said he was surprised at how well the court was playing and felt quite confident after two days of practice.

“This tie is going to be a tough one” Berankis said.

“South Africa have a good team with lots of experience. I don't know the players that well but we have a few more days to watch them in action and strategise accordingly.”

With only four players at his disposal, the Lithuanian captain said he had very little choice but would only decide on Thursday who to play in the doubles.


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