South Africa’s non-playing captain Marcos Ondruska. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - They may be playing away from home but South Africa’s non-playing captain Marcos Ondruska is bullish about his charges’ chances of gaining promotion to the next tier of the Davis Cup.

Ondruska stuck with continuity when he named his team for the crucial Davis Cup tie against Denmark next month which could see them promoted to the Euro-Africa Group I.

“The surface is right, the time is right for the team, they have grown together and I’ve seen some of the results of the team over there,” Ondruska said. “I know exactly what we will be up against, we can make some good plans and try our best to work with what we have.

“For the most part we are looking pretty good over here, I’m not counting my chickens before they are hatched but I am confident.”

Ondruska named an unchanged team for the third consecutive tie as he kept Lloyd Harris, Nik Scholtz, Raven Klaasen, and Ruan Roelofse to do duty from September 15 to 17 at the indoor Ceres Arena in Aarhus.

Harris and Scholtz will spearhead South Africa’s charge in the single rubbers with Klaasen and Roelofse playing in the doubles match.

Harris reached the quarterfinals of the Challenger in Vancouver, Canada the past week to prove his fighting form while he also reached the semifinals of four Futures events this year. He was a semifinalist in the Challenger even in Japan and qualified for his first ATP World Tour event in Antalya, Turkey in June.

“He’s (Harris) fighting fit, he’s played a lot across Europe and Challengers, so I think he’ll be playing with some good form,” Ondruska explained.

“The guys have been together now for a long time and they are starting to build that camaraderie that (we had) for the major part of the Davis Cup when I was a part of it with Wayne Ferreira and a couple of the other guys.”

Scholtz recently won two Futures titles in Zimbabwe and reaced the Futures finals in Mexico.

Ondruska said the players were well aware of the tie's importance but they would merely focus on taking it one challenge at a time.

“We all understand the significance of the moment and the occasion, these guys just need to keep it simple out there and from start to finish go do their best and win one point at a time,” he said.

“Our guys are good, probably better than they are ranked at this stage, but what has worked in our favour is that our guys are relatively unknown. Not too many of the other countries know Nik or Lloyd and they don’t know their potential.”

Ondruska is confident about his chances with the indoors hard-court surface playing into his players’ hands.

“The reason they went for that was more to suit their own team than it has anything to do with our team which actually suits us very well,” Ondruska said.

“Our team has limited experience on clay, so we are extremely happy they didn’t pick clay or any of those sort of surfaces.

“Our team is going to be very difficult to beat on indoors and hard court because of how well we serve on it. We will be holding serve a lot of the time which bodes really well for us.”

Meanwhile, Ondruska named former South African great Jeff Coetzee as consultant coach for the tie while Tucker Vorster will be travelling with the team as practice partner.

KIA SA team and their current ranking positions: Lloyd Harris (231 singles, 644 doubles); Nik Scholtz (402 singles, 505 doubles); Raven Klaasen (15 doubles), Ruan Roelofse (142 doubles)

The Star

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