SPAR PROTEAS IMPRESS AGAINST SILVER FERNS

• New Zealand have to fight hard to beat brave South Africa
Hamilton, New Zealand- The SPAR Netball Proteas may have lost against the New Zealand Silver Ferns on Sunday but they certainly impressed the Netball world with their performance.

SPAR Proteas goal defense Karla Mostert takes the first of four interceptions in the second quarter of their test against new Zealand in Auckland on Sunday. New Zealand beat South Africa 68-44 in the first of two tests. The second test will be played on Tuesday in Auckland.

Picture by: Reg Caldecott


The world number two ranked Silver Ferns survived a second-quarter stutter to account for South Africa 68-44 in the first of two Tests played at Claudelands Arena in Hamilton.
Not since 1999 had South Africa scored so high against New Zealand. Sixteen years ago in a test played in Auckland, New Zealand beat South Africa 65-47 in the lead up to the World Championships played that year in Christchurch.
New Zealand started with the same intensity that featured in their 60-goal win over Fiji three days ago. The Silver Ferns blasted out to an early 8-1 lead, helped by two early turnovers but couldn’t maintain the pressure and allowed the world No.6 Proteas to graft their way back.
Goal shoot Lenize Potgieter shouldered the attacking burden, sinking all nine of her attempts on goal as her midcourt worked overtime to break New Zealand’s tight defensive zone.
The Silver Ferns converted 16 of 21 attempts to give the Ferns a 16-9 lead at the first break.
But the wheels fell off in the second quarter. New Zealand’s midcourt struggled to create space, and their flow into the attacking third lacked rhythm and timing. The home team failed to find the circle edge, and their feed into Goal Shooter Bailey Mes and Goal Attack Jodi Brown grew fractured and erratic.
South Africa’s circle defenders Adele Niemand and Karla Mostert forced a series of turnovers and suddenly the Proteas had closed New Zealand’s lead to just one midway through the quarter.
A four-goal run right before halftime restored some respectability to the margin, but although New Zealand took a 31-24 lead into the break, honours had been shared 15-15 in the second quarter.
Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu brought about new combinations at the half time break reintroducing Laura Langman to centre to open the attack which took a little time to settle. But by the end of the third quarter New Zealand had re-established midcourt dominance, winning the quarter 21-10 and building up a 52-34 lead.
The Kiwis delivered more of the same in the final 15 minutes and Langman was back to her very best in controlling the midcourt with precision as New Zealand won the spell 16-10 and the match by a comfortable 24 goals.
Taumaunu gave credit to the Proteas on their performance. “South Africa worked really hard tonight to keep the ball away from us. They shot well and quite honestly with us not playing their style of netball for a while we were rattled. Also we didn’t know the players in their defensive circle which took some getting used to.”
A delighted SPAR Proteas coach, Norma Plummer said she was proud of her team’s performance considering. “In the first quarter the girls were so nervous, they were watching the game and not really involved. It was a big moment for them. But in the second quarter they settled and put in an excellent effort. All in all I am really pleased with my girls.”
Plummer singled out the teams “youngster” Izette Lubbe as one of the top performers saying her strength in particular was good. Plummer also gave credit to player of the match, Lenize Potgieter for her accuracy. “Lenize is such a great talent. At only 21 years of age, she adds such value to the team.”
“The goal defense (Karla Mostert) also did a good job and started to read the game well” added Plummer.
It’s only been weeks since Australian multiple World Championship winner has taken over the reigns as coach of the SPAR Proteas. “Although I am pretty pleased with the progress since working with the girls I must say there is a lot of work still to do. It’s been a terrific challenge and the Proteas are a wonderful group of girls. The Proteas need to play at the top level to understand and experience the intensity. The game tonight was really not about the score line it was for the Proteas to gain form the experience of the Silver Ferns which will help them in their World Cup challenge in Sydney next month.”
Plummer said that by the time the team arrived in Sydney she aimed to have the team performing 10 to 15% better.
The second Test is scheduled for Tuesday in Auckland.


SPAR NETBALL PROTEAS WISH SPRINGBOKS THE VERY BEST

Hamilton, New Zealand- On the eve of the SPAR Proteas playing against New Zealand (Silver Ferns) in the first of two test matches, the South African Netball team sent best wishes to the Springboks for their test against the All Blacks in Johannesburg this afternoon.

Speaking from Hamilton, New Zealand, Proteas captain Maryka Holtzhausen said that her whole team were behind the Springboks. “My team and I send all our best to the Springboks. We wish them a good game against the All Blacks and hope they do themselves and South Africa proud.”
“On Sunday it will be our turn to play New Zealand so we hope the Springboks set the standard for us.”

Unfortunately the Proteas will not be able to watch the rugby due to the time change. The test will be played at 03h00 Sunday morning New Zealand time and with the Proteas playing the Silver Ferns Sunday sleep is important. However the Proteas have arranged for a recording to be made of the rugby and they will watch it after they have played the Silver Ferns.

The SPAR Proteas are in New Zealand for two warm up tests against the world number two ranked Silver Ferns ahead of the Netball World Cup in Sydney next month. The Hamilton test Sunday will be followed by a second test in Auckland on Tuesday 28 July.

Coach Norma Plummer said that preparations for Sunday’s test were on track. “I am satisfied with the way we have prepared this week. I would dearly loved to have more time with the girls but am pleased with the way the girls have responded over the past few days. The real test will be on court Sunday.”

Both netball tests will be shown live on SuperSport on 26 and 28 July at 09:45 (South African time) on SuperSport 4 and SuperSport Select SA

SPAR Proteas team: Lenize Potgieter, Elsunet du Plessis, Lindie Lombard, Maryka Holtzhausen (captain), Bongiwe Msomi (vice-captain), Izette Lubbe, Erin Burger, Precious Mthembu, Rochelle Lawson, Karla Mostert, Adele Niemand, Phumza Maweni.


SPAR NETBALL PROTEAS TO TAKE ON SILVER FERNS

Pretoria, South Africa- The SPAR Proteas are to take on one of the world’s best Netball teams in preparation for the World Netball Cup in Sydney, Australia, starting this coming weekend.

The Proteas, who jetted out of Johannesburg, met us with their new coach, Norma Plummer, in New Zealand on Monday, and will play two Tests against the Silver Ferns, who have been a dominant force in world netball for several decades.
The Tests will be played in Hamilton on July 26, and in Auckland on July 28.

SuperSport will be broadcasting the two warm up tests against New Zealand on 26 and 28 July at 09:45 (South African time) on SuperSport 4 and SuperSport Select SA.

Plummer, who coached Australia to victory in the 2011 World Championships in Singapore, took over as Proteas coach last month. She had an immediate impact on the team, who beat perennial rivals Malawi twice in the Diamond Challenge, played at the Ugu Sports Centre near Margate.
Plummer said she was excited to be taking charge of the Proteas, who she described as ‘very talented athletes.’ She said the short series against New Zealand was very important for the team.

“They need to have the experience of playing one of the world’s top teams,” she said.
“Regardless of the outcome of the Tests, they will benefit.”

Plummer said the Proteas needed to learn how to get out of tough situations, and to develop Netball intelligence, which was something for which the Silver Ferns were renowned.

Meanwhile Netball South Africa confirmed that Melissa Myburgh has been replaced in the SPAR Protea lineup by reserve Elsunet du Plessis. Myburgh had to withdraw from the team due to injury.

SPAR Proteas team: Lenize Potgieter, Elsunet du Plessis, Lindie Lombard, Maryka Holtzhausen (captain), Bongiwe Msomi (vice-captain), Izette Lubbe, Erin Burger, Precious Mthembu, Rochelle Lawson, Karla Mostert, Adele Niemand, Phumza Maweni
Non-travelling reserves: Lauren-Lee Christians, Zukelwa Cwaba.


INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR TENNIS SET FOR GAUTENG

Johannesburg, South Africa – Two back to back international junior tennis tournaments will be played in Gauteng over the next two weeks.

Girls top seed at the Wanderers Junior ITF Zani Barnard of South Africa. The Wanderers Junior ITF will be played from 21 to 26 July at The Wanderers Tennis Club in Illovo, Johannesburg.

Boys top seed Brandon Laubser of South Africa at the Wanderers Junior ITF. The Wanderers Junior ITF will be played from 21 to 26 July at The Wanderers Tennis Club in Illovo, Johannesburg.

Picture credit: BLD Communications


The Wanderers Junior ITF will be played at The Wanderers Tennis Club in Illovo, Johannesburg from 21 to 26 July and this will be followed by the Gauteng North ITF to be played from 27 July to August 2 at the Groenkloof Tennis Stadium.

Junior tennis players from over 25 countries have jetted into South Africa to participate in both tournaments.

The singles main draws for the boys are a 48 draw and girls a 32 draw, the boys doubles main draws will be a 24 draw and the girls a 16 draw.

Gavin Crookes, President of Tennis South Africa (TSA) said that his Association warmly welcomed the international and local players to the country for the event. “A lot of preparation has gone into making these tournaments a great success and enjoyable experience for especially our international players. TSA is delighted with the large international representation. This indicates that the internationals are happy with our facilities and South Africa remains an attractive destination.”

There is no entry fee for spectators and play is scheduled to start each day at 09h00.

The seeds for the Wanderers Junior ITF are as follows;

Boys:
1. Brandon Laubser (RSA)
2. Calvin Jordaan (RSA)
3. Timothy Dollman (RSA)
4. Luke Hammond (GBR)
5. Joshua Howard-Tripp (RSA)
6. Bertus Kruger (RSA)
7. Mehluli Sibanda (Zim)
8. Michael Copeland (RSA)

Girls:
1. Zani Barnard (RSA)
2. Lee Barnard (RSA)
3. Rouxanne Janse Van Rensburg (RSA)
4. Louise-Mare Botes (RSA)
5. En Shuo Liang (TPE)
6. Nadine De Villiers (RSA)
7. Celestine Avomo Ella (Gab)
8. Huibre-Mare Botes (RSA)


SOUTH AFRICA SEND THE NETBALL PROTEAS OFF TO THE WORLD CUP IN STYLE

Pretoria, South Africa - South Africa gave a fitting World Cup sendoff to the SPAR Netball Proteas in Pretoria Saturday evening.

The SPAR Protea Netball team, Back row: Mike Prentice (The SPAR Group Marketing Executive), Dr Sherylle Calder (EyeGym Visual Skills and Performance Specialist), Mimi Mthethwa (NSA President), Molebatsi Bopape (Gauteng Provincial MEC of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation) stand together.

Left: Maryka Holtzhausen (Captain) of the SPAR Proteas shares a good laugh with Mike Prentice (The SPAR Group Marketing Executive), Middle: Mimi Mthethwa (NSA President) and Molebatsi Bopape (Gauteng Provincial MEC of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation) stand together.

Picture credits: Reg Caldecott


Netball South Africa and the team sponsors SPAR organized a farewell dinner for the team, their families and loved ones at the Southern Sun Pretoria hotel with Gauteng Provincial MEC of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation Molebatsi Bopape giving the key note address on behalf of government. Sponsor representatives and members of the media were also in attendance.

MEC Bopape said that Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula and his Deputy Gert Oosthuizen had asked her to pass on their best to the SPAR Proteas and the MEC also gave the team well wishes from the Gauteng Premier, David Makhura. “The Minister his Deputy and Premier would dearly have loved to be with us all tonight but have Mandela Day duties to fulfill around the country. Actually to me it’s no coincidence that we are celebrating the SPAR Proteas travelling to the World Cup on Mandela Day, it’s a fitting match that a team of such talent should be celebrating netball when we are celebrating an icon that said that sport plays such a role in unifying a nation.”

A special message from the teams newly appointed Australian coach, Norma Plummer who could not attend the dinner was broadcast to the audience from Melbourne. Plummer said that she was honored to have been appointed coach of the SPAR Proteas. “We have a great bunch of athletes in the team and they are hungry to learn and deliver and I would like to thank Netball South Africa for honoring me with the coaching job.”

MEC Bopape said that each one of the SPAR Proteas should be proud of what they achieved. “Each one of you sitting here tonight with your families have achieved so much in making the World Cup team. You are an inspiration to so many thousands of hopeful youth out there, you should embrace that responsibility.”

The SPAR Group Marketing Executive, Mike Prentice confirmed that his company would be paying an incentive to the team should they return to South Africa with a medal. “SPAR will gladly pay a R500 000.00 bonus for any medal won in Sydney by South Africa but if the team bring back silver we will pay R750 000.00 and for gold we will pay R1 million. We wish the SPAR Proteas all the very best, we believe in them and are proud to be associated with netball.”

Both Captain Maryka Holtzhausen and Assistant Captain Bongi Msomi told the audience that they were excited to travel to Sydney and felt well prepared for the World Cup.

Netball South Africa President closed the evening off with a fitting tribute to the SPAR Proteas saying that her Executive had done all they could to give the best preparation to the team and were totally committed to their success and felt that the team spirit was special and the team would do not only themselves but the country proud.

The team jet off from Johannesburg on Sunday evening for New Zealand where they will play two tests against the Silver Ferns (New Zealand). The team would remain in New Zealand with coach Norma Plummer to prepare for the World Cup to be played from the 7-16 August in Sydney.


SOUTH AFRICA THUMP IRELAND IN THE DAVIS CUP

Pretoria, South Africa – South Africa thumped Ireland 5-0 in the Davis Cup by BNP PARIBAS Euro Africa Group 2 tie which ended at the Irene Country Club outside Pretoria on Sunday. In Sundays dead rubbers was the battle of the number one’s which saw South African Tucker Vorster defeat Ireland’s James McGee 6-1 7-5, followed by South African Ruan Roelofse defeating Irelands number two Sam Barry 6-4 6-3.

Tucker Vorster of South Africa being congratulated by his team after winning against James McGee of Ireland during the Reverse Singles of the Davis Cup tie between South Africa and Ireland at Irene Country Club on Sunday

Ruan Roelofse of South Africa in action against Sam Barry of Ireland during the Reverse Singles of the Davis Cup tie between South Africa and Ireland at Irene Country Club on Sunday.

Picture credit: Reg Caldecott


Doubles specialist Ruan Roelofse, who had partnered Dean O’Brien for a straight set win on Saturday to clinch the tie for the hosts, replaced Fritz Wolmarans. Wolmarans who opened up proceedings with an upset win over Ireland top player James McGee on Friday, withdrew from the reverse singles for preventable measures. “I was feeling a possibly injury come on and after my titanic win on Friday over McGee I really didn’t want to take any chances” admitted Wolmarans.

Hometown favourite, Tucker Vorster carried on his superb form from Friday into the match against McGee and upset the world number 150 in 1hr 11mins. “It was a much more relaxed day for me knowing that we had won the tie already but I knew that I had lots of friends and family watching so I had to give it my all”, said Vorster.
Despite Roelofse recently retiring from singles was still the second highest ranked player in the South African outfit (421), enjoyed being part of the match. “Even though we were leading 4-0 I really did not want to be the only player that lost”, laughed Roelofse. “It has been an awesome experience being a part of this team and look forward to many more ties”. Roloefse spent one minute longer on court that his teammate in a match lasting 1hr 12mins.

The win for South Africa avoided relegation and keeps the country in the Davis Cup Euro/Africa Zone 2 for 2016. It was an awesome display of tennis by a youthful South African team that was entrusted by captain Earl Grainger. “I have said and I will say again that this is the future of South African tennis, I was criticized for the team I chose but I knew that they were special and could deliver”, says Grainger. Grainger did not for one second think that they would whitewash an Irish side that is ranked much higher than South Africa but showed great pleasure that they did.

“Winning this tie definitely took team effort and not just from the players but from everybody who had a hand in getting us here, I am truly proud to have been a part of such a great team”, says Grainger.


TENNIS SOUTH AFRICA AND DAVIS CUP SUPPORT MANDELA DAY

Pretoria, South Africa - South African Davis Cup Squad mates Nik Scholtz and Lloyd Harris together with Wheelchair Tennis South Africa celebrated their Mandela Day by being part of development tennis clinic for kids from ten development centre’s around Pretoria, hosted by Tennis South Africa.
The 67 minute clinic was held at the Irene Country Club outside Pretoria that is hosting the Davis Cup by BNP PARISBAS this weekend.

South African Davis Cup Squad members, South African wheelchair tennis players and upcoming tennis players from around Pretoria at the development clinic held at the Irene Country Club on Saturday.

Picture Credit: Reg Caldecott


The clinic was held as part of the Davis Cup weekend taking place between South Africa and Ireland and in honour of late President Nelson Mandela. People around the world are asked on this day to celebrate President Mandela’s birthday by doing good for 67 minutes for someone less fortunate. Both Scholtz and Harris were extremely happy to be a part of such a special event honouring a great man. “I believe that it is extremely important to give back because at the end of the day these young kids are the future and we need to nurture them”, said Harris.
“Giving back is very important not just for today but as a way of life and that was the message that President Mandela left me with” added Scholtz.

Tennis South Africa (TSA) President Gavin Crookes said that TSA were proud to be associated with 67 minutes for Mandela Day. “Nelson Mandela believed that sport was the best form of unifying the people of this country and for TSA to be a part of it on a day where South Africa could clinch the tie is mind-blowing and exciting.”


SOUTH AFRICA CLINCHES IMPORTANT DAVIS CUP TIE AGAINST IRELAND

Pretoria, South Africa - In front of an enthusiastic home crowd, South African doubles specialist Ruan Roelofse and Dean O’ Brien overcame Irelands James Cluskey and David O’Hare in straight sets 7-6 (4) 6-4 6-3 to clinch an overall victory for team South Africa in the Davis Cup on Saturday at the Irene Country Club. South Africa now lead the tie 3-0 heading into Sunday’s reverse singles and have avoided being relegated to Euro/Africa Zone 3 in 2016.

Ruan Roelofse (left) and Dean O’Brien of South Africa in action against David O’Hare and James Cluskey of Ireland during the Doubles of the Davis Cup tie between South Africa and Ireland at Irene Country Club on Saturday.

Picture Credit: Reg Caldecott


The South African duo knew that they had a difficult task ahead of them against the much higher ranked Irish team. “As a team we knew we had it all to do today against guys who have played together much longer than we have, so staying focused and playing with a high intensity played an important part for us”, said O’Brien. Roelofse who now stands at 3 wins and no losses in Davis Cup ties was extremely proud of the team’s effort this weekend. “Even though Dean and I won the tie today we know that it took team effort to get this result, and we are just extremely happy that we won today.” The rubber lasted 2hrs and 18mins.

Davis Cup Team Captain Earl Grainger was extremely pleased that the tie had been sealed going into the final day and now he could celebrate with his team. “This is a great start for what I believe is the future of South African tennis and I could not be more proud of the guys”, says Grainger.

“Each and every member of my squad played an important part in the overall victory. I am extremely grateful to each one of them and proud to be their Captain.”

Sundays reverse singles will feature South African number one Tucker Vorster taking on Irelands number 1 James McGee followed by South African number two Fritz Wolmarans taking on Irelands number two Sam Barry.
Play starts at 9.30am.


PERFECT START FOR TEAM SOUTH AFRICA

Pretoria, South Africa - Tucker Vorster and Fritz Wolmarans gave South Africa the perfect start against a “tricky” Ireland in the Davis Cup by BNP PARIBAS Euro/Africa Group 2 tie being played at the Irene Country Club outside Pretoria on Friday.
In the opening rubber, South African number two Fritz Wolmarans upset Irelands top player James McGee 7-6 (0) 1-6 6-3 6-4 in a 2hr 55 min thriller.

Fritz Wolmarans of South Africa in action against James McGee of Ireland during the Opening Singles of the Davis Cup tie between South Africa and Ireland at Irene Country Club on Friday. Wolmarans beat McGee 7-6 (0) 1-6 6-3 6-4.

Tucker Vorster of South Africa celebrates after winning against Sam Barry of Ireland during the Opening Singles of the Davis Cup tie between South Africa and Ireland at Irene Country Club on Friday.

Picture credit: Reg Caldecott


Tucker Vorster, the South African number one then gave his country a 2-0 lead when he beat Sam Barry 6-1 6-7 (4) 7-6 (5) 6-4

Wolmarans ranked 477 in the world won a hard fought battle over a player ranked some 327 places higher than him on the rankings (150) and who beat Wolmarans in their only previous meeting back in 2013. “I am delighted with the win and to be able to put my country in the lead in front of family and friends means a lot,” said Wolmarans.

All pressure was on Ireland to win the second rubber. Vorster started off well taking the first set 6-1 but the Irish struck back in the second set tiebreaker with Barry winning it 4-7. Tucker regrouped in the third set with focus and determination bringing the South Africa through in four sets. “I knew I had to dig deep and focus on the game and not the score” says Vorster. The Pretoria born Tuckers says playing at home in front of family and friends made him more determined to win”. After 3hrs and 24 minutes Vorster sealed the victory with an ace.

Both Wolmarans and Vorster used their big serves perfectly on altitude to get on top of their Irish opponents.

South African team Captain Earl Grainger could not have asked for a better start from his team but knows that the work is far from over. “I could never have expected this in my wildest dreams but I know that the work is far from over. We have one more rubber to win to clinch the tie and celebrations will only happen after that.”

There will be a lot riding on the Saturday doubles rubber between South Africa’s Ruan Roelofse and Dean O’ Brien as they take on Irelands James Cluskey and David O’Hare. A win for the South African doubles pair would see the country take a 3-0 lead or it will be left for a thrilling Sunday to decide the tie.


TUCKER VOSTER AND FRITZ WOLMARANS NAMED AS SINGLES PLAYERS FOR SOUTH AFRICA AT DAVIS CUP DRAW

Pretoria, Johannesburg - South African Davis Cup captain, Earl Grainger announced Tucker Vorster and Fritz Wolmarans as his number one and number two nominated singles player at the official draw for this weekend’s Euro/Africa Group 2 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas tie between South Africa and Ireland. The tie will be played at the Irene Country Club in Pretoria, from 17th-19th July 2015.

Irene Dairy Farm director Adrian van der Byl draws Irish player James McGee first during the official draw of the Davis Cup Euro/Africa Group 2 South Africa vs Ireland tie at the Irene Farm on Thursday. From left is Tennis South Africa President and acting CEO Gavin Crookes, Referee, Wael Abbas of Egypt and Tennis South Africa board member Clark Coetzee.

Picture credit: Reg Caldecott


Grainger also announced that doubles specialists Ruan Roelofse and Dean O’ Brien will partner for the doubles rubber to be played on Saturday.

The draw for the first round Group 2 Europe/Africa tie was made at the Irene Dairy Farm on Thursday and Fritz Wolmarans’ name was drawn for the first singles rubber by tie Referee, Wael Abbas of Egypt.

World number 497, Fritz Wolmarans, will get South Africa’s weekend campaign under way against Ireland on Friday 17th July at 09:30 after the official opening ceremony at 09h15. Wolmarans will play James McGee the Irish number one, ranked 150 in the opening rubber. This will be the second time that that the two have met with McGee winning their first meeting in 2013. “I am very excited to be starting off proceedings for my country especially against McGee, and I look forward to a tough match”, says Fritz.

The second Friday singles rubber between South African number one Tucker Vorster and Irish number two, Sam Barry, will be the first between the two players.

South African Captain Earl Grainger remains upbeat about his team’s chances this weekend and believes he has put forward the best possible team. “At the end of the day I am building a Davis Cup team for the future and I believe all these guys are our next Kevin Anderson and Raven Klaasen, and also I believe that this weekend the boys will fight, said Grainger. Grainger also added that half the work is done as the boys trust him and there has been a real sense of unity amongst them.

Ruan Roelofse and Dean O’ Brien were named by Grainger as his doubles team. “Ruan and Dean started playing three months ago and have had extremely good results on the ATP circuit. Both guys are ready to give their all for what could be an important rubber.”

Irish Captain Connor Niland named David O’Hare and James Cluskey as his doubles team to play Roelofse and O’Brien.

Niland said that he was happy with where his team is at and hopes for an exciting match come the weekend.

The playing program;
Friday singles (start 9:30 am): Fritz Wolmarans (RSA) vs James McGee (IRL) followed by Tucker Vorster (RSA) vs. Sam Barry (IRL),
Saturday doubles (start 12:00pm): Dean O Brien (RSA) and Ruan Roelofse (RSA) vs. James Cluskey (IRL) and Sam Barry (IRL).
Sunday reverse singles (09h30): Fritz Wolmarans (RSA) vs. Sam Barry (IRL) followed by Tucker Vorster (RSA) vs. James McGee (IRL).


SOUTH AFRICA AND IRELAND UPBEAT AHEAD OF WEEKEND DAVIS CUP CLASH

Pretoria, South Africa – Both South Africa and Ireland were upbeat about their chances for this weekend’s Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Europe/Africa Zone Group 2 tie at the pre-draw media conference held Tuesday at the Irene Country Club outside Pretoria.

The South African squad from left; Lloyd Harris, Nik Scholtz, Fritz Wolmarans, Earl Grainger (Captain), Tucker Vorster, Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse.

The Irish team from left; James McGee, Sam Barry, Conor Niland (Captain), James Cluskey and David O’Hare.

Picture credit: Reg Caldecott


The South African Davis Cup Team Captain Earl Grainger says that he is very pleased with the team’s performance in training thus far and how they have come together. “I have to select 4 players from the 6 that I have and it is going to be a very difficult decision because every guy has proven why they should be part of the tie”, says Grainger. With the tie being played at the Irene Country Club it gives the South African team a bit of edge as they have home court advantage. Tucker Vorster, of Pretoria believes that the crowd could be a big factor in helping the South African team win. “Being able to play in front of friends and family makes us more comfortable and much more determined to win”, said Tucker.

The Irish team arrived in the country on Sunday and Connor Niland the Irish team captain says at the moment they are comfortable. “We have had three days to adapt to the altitude and the court surface so we are feeling very good at the moment.” said Niland.

The Irish number one player and the highest ranked player (150 singles) at the tie James McGee says that he is expecting a very tough match come the weekend. “Rankings mean nothing when you play Davis Cup as you are playing for the prestige of your country so I being higher ranked than the rest of the player’s means nothing” says McGee. He also added that he knows that the South African team is going to be tough and is looking forward to the battle.

The tie between South Africa and Ireland takes place from 17-19 July at the Irene Country Club in Pretoria.


OFFICIALS FOR DAVIS CUP TIE SOUTH AFRICA VS IRELAND ANNOUNCED

Johannesburg, South Africa - The International Tennis Federation (ITF) and Tennis South Africa (TSA) have named their officials for the upcoming Davis Cup by BNP Paribas tie between South Africa and Ireland.

The tie is to be played at the Irene Country Club outside Pretoria from Friday 17 to Sunday 19 July.

The Referee and ITF Representative at the Tie will be experienced umpire, Wael Abbas of Egypt. The two chair umpires, are Pieter Hoeksma from Pretoria and Steve Kgaphola from Gauteng East, Tembisa.

Wael is no stranger to South Africa having officiated at the South Africa vs Monaco Davis Cup tie in 2014 as well as the ATP South African Open (Montecasino) and Soweto Open (Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex). Wael, a professional official on the international circuit has officiated at all four of the Grand Slams, Olympic and Commonwealth Games and is vastly experienced in officiating in Davis Cup competition.

Hoeksma, a white badge official with the ITF started officiating in 1995. He has been chair umpire in the Davis Cup ties staged in Namibia, Botswana and Morocco and has worked the lines at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, 2012 Olympic Games, four Wimbledon Championships and four Australian Open Championships.

This will be Steve Kgaphola’s first Davis Cup tie and he recently worked at the


SOUTH AFRICAN DAVIS CUP SQUAD NAMED FOR CLASH AGAINST IRELAND

Johannesburg, South Africa - Tennis South Africa (TSA) on Tuesday named their Davis Cup squad to play Ireland from 17-19 July.

The Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Europe/Africa Zone Group 2 playoff tie, to be played at the Irene Country Club in Pretoria is crucially important for both sides as the winner will prevent relegation to Group 3 in 2016.

With South Africa’s top ranked singles and doubles players, Kevin Anderson and Raven Klaasen not available for the tie, TSA have opted to name a six man squad for the tie of which four players have been nominated as per the Davis Cup rules to the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

The players named for the squad are Tucker Vorster, Fritz Wolmarans, Dean O’Brien, Ruan Roelofse, Nik Scholtz and Lloyd Harris.

Vorster, Wolmarans, O’Brien and Roelofse have been nominated as the four man team to the ITF however Captain Earl Grainger may make changes to the four players named up to an hour before the official draw on the Thursday ahead of the tie.

“I have kept all my options open” said Grainger. “It’s been a tough call on naming only four players so my best option is to have a squad of six at Irene Country Club and to see who adapts well to the conditions and impresses in the week leading up to the tie.”

Grainger said that due to the impressive form of O’Brien and Roelofse who are playing as a team on the ATP Tour he had decided to name these two as his specialist doubles team. “Dean and Ruan recently decided to focus on doubles and teamed up together the two have done impressively well of late reaching the semi-finals and final of Challenger events. Dean is our third highest world ranked doubles player after Klaasen and Anderson with Ruan just behind Dean on the rankings. The doubles rubber has always proved to be important so naming a specialist doubles team was always in the mix.”

Grainger recently travelled to Zimbabwe to see the form of South African’s playing the Futures events there. Harris who won back to back titles (Mozambique and Zimbabwe) in his debut as a professional is the inform player at the moment.

“With Kevin Anderson announcing he is not available indefinitely for Davis Cup duty we need to focus on the next generation of players to represent South Africa. Harris has a great promising game and needs to be exposed to Davis Cup competition and with his current form made the squad. Scholtz like Harris is a powerful up and coming player, has played Davis Cup before so was selected.”

Grainger said that Vorster was playing some great tennis at the moment and was very impressed with his attitude. “In Zimbabwe I watched Tucker and spent some quality time with him. I was very impressed with the way he used his game and his positivity which will install well for the upcoming tie.”

Grainger said that he was planning on continuing the impressive team unity that had been displayed in the last tie played away against Turkey in March. “Although we lost to Turkey 2-3, the whole South African team showed unbelievable passion and pride throughout the tie. They fought hard for the country and I want to continue with this tradition. It’s all about coming together as a team and not individual strength.”

Raven Klaasen said that due to World Team Tennis scheduling he could not make the tie. “Unfortunately I won’t be available for the next tie against Ireland. I am really sad not to be part of this one especially given it’s a home tie. I want to take this opportunity of saying good luck to Earl and the squad and as always Davis Cup will have my full support.”

The South African squad named is as follows;

Tucker Vorster (singles 389; doubles 476)
Ruan Roelofse (singles 426; doubles 179)
Fritz Wolmarans (singles 497)
Dean O’Brien (doubles 171)
Nik Scholtz (singles 550; doubles 628)
Lloyd Harris (singles 736)


DAVIS CUP TICKETS GO ON SALE

Johannesburg, South Africa – Tickets will go on sale today (Thursday) for the upcoming Euro/Africa Zone Group 2 Play-Off Davis Cup by PNP Paribas tie between South Africa and Ireland.

The tie to be played from 17 to 19 July 2015 will be hosted at the Irene Country Club in Pretoria.

The same popular venue hosted two Davis Cup Ties last year when South Africa beat Monaco then lost to Lithuania.

Tickets for the tie will be R100 for a day session or there is an option of a R250 “seasonal ticket” which covers three days of the tie. Tennis South Africa member receive a 30% discount. Tickets are sold online through Web tickets. http://goo.gl/dsfyM5 or http://www.webtickets.co.za/event.aspx?itemid=1457247035

The Irene Country Club is unique and privileged to have one of the most beautiful and tranquil settings in Pretoria. The club has 6 courts (3 under lights) and outstanding facilities which offers, Tennis, Golf, Squash, Cricket, Bowls, restaurants and conference facilities which make up the perfect ingredients for a top class Davis Cup venue.

Irene Country Club Tennis Chairman, Craig Herbst, comments: “The club prides itself on outstanding sporting and entertainment facilities and for the Davis Cup tie, our guests and tennis fans will be blown away by our venue and hospitality. We will make sure the tie is one to remember and becomes a must visit stop on the SA tennis calendar. We invite the public to participate in this year’s Davis Cup and to come and proudly support our national team with pride.”

South Africa will name its sides for the tie on Tuesday 7 July.

The tie will be played on a medium to fast paced hard court with seats for 500 spectators.

Program for the tie:
Friday: 09h15 Opening Ceremony. The first singles rubber will start at 09h30 with the second rubber following immediately thereafter.
Saturday: 12h00 Doubles rubber.
Sunday: 09h30 First reverse singles rubber, followed by final singles rubber.
All the matches are played as the best of five sets until a result has been achieved.

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