Raven & Co all the rave – Ondruska
SOUTH Africa will be banking on the experience of doubles specialist extraordinaire Raven Klaasen and rising singles star Lloyd Harris for the Davis Cup tie against Estonia.
Announcing his team for the Euro/Africa Group 2 tie at the Irene Country Club at the beginning of next month, South African captain Marcos Ondruska also revealed that Kia Motors South Africa will be supporting the team over the next year.
Ondruska named a sixmember team that also included stalwart Tucker Vorster, Nik Scholtz while Ruan Roelofse will partner Klaasen.
“I’m excited about the team. It is a strong team, it is obviously great to have Raven in the side with his experience and we have young gun Lloyd Harris, one of the most talented individuals in the game,” Ondruska said in a teleconference from the United States.
“I am excited about Nik Scholtz being part of the team, we tried a couple of times last year to have him as part of the squad but it didn’t work out.”
Harris, who is South Africa’s top singles player, achieved a career-high singles ranking of 266 in November last year and recently won a record six consecutive Futures titles.
Ondruska believes the 19-year-old Harris, ranked 284th in the world, has a bright future.
“He worked really hard in the off-season, and hisranking is a good place for him to be,” Ondruska said.
“If he can move up another 40 spots, he’ll get into the Grand Slam qualifiers, and I can see him causing some serious damage at one of the Grand Slams, sooner rather than later.
“As the Davis Cup captain, and for South Africa as a whole, we should be very excited about the season that lies ahead for him.”
Klaasen reached a careerhigh ninth in the ATP doubles rankings in July 2016 after featuring in the semi-finals at Wimbledon with American partner Rajeev Ram.
The country’s most celebrated doubles player reached another major milestone when the AmericanSouth African combination narrowly missed out on the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title where they lost to Finland’s Henri Kontinen and Australia’s John Peers 2-6, 6-1, 10-8.
“It is going to be tough, it is not going to be what happened at Irene Country Club last year. These guys are better, their No 1 (Jurgen Zopp) used to be in the top 100 so he is a very experienced player,” Ondruska said.
Ondruska said he had spoken to Kevin Anderson and hinted that South Africa’s highest world-ranked tennis player could make a return to the Davis Cup some time in the future.