Johannesburg – It’s not what Davis Cup captain John-Laffnie de Jager was looking for – but South Africa will face Poland on their home ground the next Euro-Africa Group I round of the competition in April.
This is the outcome of Poland's weekend 3-2 win over Slovenia, with De Jager on Monday confessing “it would probably have been a lot easier had the result gone the other way.
“Poland's squad includes one of the most exciting up-and-coming players in the world in the ATP's 25th-ranked Jerzy Janowicz and he is well-supported by 77th-ranked Lukasz Kubot and a doubles combination of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski, who are rated among the 10 best in the world,” said De Jager.
“What is more, the Centennial Centre in Warsaw, the likely venue for our tie, is a stronghold of the Poles and fraught with problems for most visiting teams,” he added.
De Jager pointed out that while Poland's 3-2 victory margin over Slovenia indicated it had been an evenly-matched contest, Jancowicz had made the score an irreversible 3-1 and only the consequent withdrawal of Kubot from the last match had prevented a likely 4-1 margin.
South Africa have suffered a frustrating bid to return to the elite World Group of the Davis Cup over the past four years, failing at the final hurdle in play-offs against India, Germany, Croatia and Canada and the prospect of making the final play-off round on this occasion would seem to rest heavily on No 1 player Kevin Anderson making himself available.
Anderson on Monday equalled his best career ranking of 28th when the ATP released their latest standings, but he has regularly made himself unavailable for Davis Cup competition and is currently recovering from elbow surgery.
“I don't think the injury is all that serious,” said South Africa's Davis Cup captain.
De Jager said he expected a decision within the next week as to whether Anderson would be available for the Poland match, with South African Davis Cup regulars Izak van der Merwe, Rick De Voest and and Raven Klaasen likely squad members along with the up-and-coming Nikala Scholz.
“Anderson against Janowicz is an intriguing prospect, and could be a decider if it materialises,” said the South African captain. – Sapa