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SA confident ahead of Davis Cup tie

Tennis

Johannesburg – South African Davis Cup captain John-Laffnie de Jager said preparations were going well ahead of their crucial Davis Cup tennis tie against Slovenia this weekend.

Most of the team, which includes Rik De Voest, Nikala Scholtz, Ruan Botha and Raven Klaasen, arrived in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana on Saturday, giving the South Africans enough days on clay to prepare.

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(L) John Laffnie de Jager trainer coach and captain national team & Rik de Voest of South Africa during first day of the BNP Paribas Davis Cup 2013 between Poland and South Africa at MOSiR Hall in Zielona Gora on April 05, 2013...Poland, Zielona Gora, April 05, 2013..Picture also available in RAW (NEF) or TIFF format on special request...For editorial use only. Any commercial or promotional use requires permission...Photo by © Adam Nurkiewicz / Mediasport

Davis Cup debutant Dean O'Brien joined the team from the US on Monday.

“We have had three good days of practice on the clay. It has been raining the last two days, so we had to practice indoors,” De Jager said in a statement on Wednesday.

He was happy with the form of the South African players.

“My boys are healthy with no injuries, which is very pleasing considering what happened the last two ties against Canada and Poland, where we had so many injuries and I ended up being playing captain.”

He would not commit to who he would play in the singles and doubles this weekend.

“I will only decide on Thursday morning after our morning session who will play singles and doubles.

“I need some more time to watch our boys in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, ahead of the draw, before deciding.”

De Jager said their opposing Slovenian team was strong.

“The Slovenian team is very strong, especially with Grega Zemlja (ranked 74) and Blaz Kavcic (105) in their line-up.

“I expect Zemlja and Calcic and to play all five matches.”

This is a crucial tie as the losers will have to face Russia in the final relegation playoff to see who remains in Euro/Africa Zone group one and who will drop to group two next year. Victory in Slovenia will result in South Africa automatically staying in group one. – Sapa

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