Rik de Voest has overcome the finger injury he sustained three weeks ago after he crashed into a scoreboard at the Farmer’s Classic in Los Angeles. In the collision De Voest slashed his ring finger, but, he returned to action soon afterwards and on Wednesday he was in action at the ATP PTT Thailand Open at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
De Voest has become a crucial force in South Africa’s drive to reach the ITF David Cup World Group and he is in peak condition for the all-important Davis Cup World Group promotion/relegation tie against Croatia from 16 to 18 September, at the Potchefstroom’s North West University tennis stadium.
“Initially I suffered some nerve damage to the ring finger, but, the healing has gone pretty well, ” said De Voest, who was joined by fellow South African Davis Cupper Raven Klaasen on a tele-conference call with the SA tennis media on Wednesday. “I no longer have to wear any protective gear and it’s back to normal as far as my finger goes. Also it will help a lot that Potchefstroom will be a lot warmer than the places where I’ve been playing recently, especially if I am going to play a lot of (singles and doubles) matches.
“I think conditions will also be easier for us (South Africans) because it will bouncey conditions and that’s something that we’ll be aware of. This could make matters tricky for the Croatians as they’ll need time to adjust to these strange conditions.”
Klaasen is unlikely to play in Potchefstroom, but, he’ll provide cover for both singles and doubles. He’s also playing in Bangkok and on Wednesday he reached the second-round of the doubles competition, playing with American John Pierre Fruttero.
“I’m just grateful to be in the squad, and ready to fit in wherever I may be needed,” said Klaasen. “I last played in 2010 against Finland and I’m ready to play again. Nowadays my programme is geared to advance my cause in doubles and my target is to make it to the Grand Slams next year.”
De Voest and Klaasen will join SA No 1 Kevin Anderson and Izak van der Merwe in the squad for Potchefstroom, where despite the home advantage, Croatia’s strong line-up will be the favourites. Their top three players, Marin Cilic (28), Ivan Ljubicic (31) and Ivan Dodig (33) all have top-50 rankings. The visiting Croats will also be bouyed by their superior ITF Davis Cup world ranking of 12, as against South Africa’s 22. The world rankings for the South Africans are 34 (Kevin Anderson), 129 (Izak van der Merwe), 124 (Rik de Voest) and 254 (Raven Klaasen).
The SA camp will be overjoyed with the news that the form of their No 1 Anderson is red-hot, more so after his 6-3 6-1 demolition of world number four Andy Murray in the second round of the Rogers Cup Masters event in Montreal a few weeks days ago.
Croatia have informed the South African Tennis Association that they will only name their side 10 days before the tie according to the rules of the ITF.
Start times for the forthcoming Davis Cup World Group Play-off Tie are as follows:
Friday 16th September: 10h00 local time (08h00 GMT)
Saturday 17th September: 13h00 local time (11h00 GMT)
Sunday 18th September: 10h00 local time (08h00 GMT)
Tickets are available at Postnets across the country and at www.ticketpros.co.za. Tickets for the Friday’s two single matches are R50, Saturday’s pivotal doubles encounter, R30, and Sunday’s reverse singles matches, R50. The price to attend all three days is R100.