Raven & Co all the rave – On­druska

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - OCK­ERT DE VIL­LIERS

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.

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