SOUTH AFRICAN RISING TENNIS STAR LLOYD HARRIS REWARDED FOR FINE FORM

Johannesburg, South Africa - Next week 19 year old Lloyd Harris will jet into South Africa as part of the South African Davis Cup Squad to play Luxembourg from 4-6 March at the Irene Country Club.

Lloyd Harris

Picture credit: BLD Communications


Harris who is playing his first ATP Challenge this week in Japan upset fifth seed Hiroki Moriya from Japan 4-6 6-3 7-6 (4) to move into the quarter finals where he will meet another Japanese star, Yuichi Sugita the top seed on Friday.

The timing of Harris fine form is perfect as South African Davis Cup Captain, Marcos Ondruska has indicated that Harris could well be named as the second singles player with Tucker Vorster in the final South African team to play Luxembourg in the crucial Euro Africa Group 2 Davis Cup clash in Pretoria next weekend. If Harris is named by Ondruska it will be his first official outing in the green and gold for South Africa in Davis Cup competition.

Harris was also rewarded for his fine form when the International Tennis Federation confirmed on Monday that Harris has received a travel grant to assist him with travel expenses. This grant is part of the ITF Development Programme, which is financed by the ITF and the Grand Slam® Development Fund (GSDF).

During the period 1986 – 2014 over US$ 92 million has been invested by the ITF and the Grand Slam nations in tennis development activities in 150 countries worldwide. In 2014, US$ 4.34 million was spent on the Development Programme with US$ 2.63 million being invested by the ITF and the balance of US$ 1.71 million contributed by the Grand Slam nations to the Grand Slam Development Fund.

With the aim of raising the level of tennis worldwide and increasing the number of countries competing in mainstream international tennis, the Development Programme includes a broad range of initiatives in less developed countries ranging from the grass roots to Grand Slams. Activities include ITF/GSDF touring teams, funding for junior and professional tournaments, training centres, coaches education, the supply of tennis equipment and the ITF Junior Tennis Initiative – a 14 & under player development programme, which encompasses Tennis10s (School Tennis Initiative) and Performance Tennis Initiative programmes.

Special emphasis has been placed on junior tennis where regional tournament circuits have been developed and teams of young players compete outside their own region. In 2014, 26 regional circuits were supported by the Development Programme providing much needed competition for the best players at 18, 16, 14, 13 and 12 & under age groups across the globe (Central America & Caribbean, South America, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and Pacific Oceania).

Players who perform well at these regional circuits are invited to join an international touring team. The ITF/GSDF touring team programme aims to facilitate the transition of talented players through regional and international competitions and onto the professional ranks. In 2014, there were 21 ITF/GSDF Touring Teams involving 123 players from 61 different countries. Former ITF/GSDF Touring Team members include: Gustavo Kuerten (Brazil), Nicolas Massu (Chile), Nicolas Lapentti (Ecuador), Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi (India), Angelique Widjaja (Indonesia), Eleni Daniilidou (Greece), Younes El Aynaoui (Morocco), Paradorn Srichaphan (Thailand), Cara Black (Zimbabwe), Jarkko Nieminen (Finland), Florin Mergea (Romania), Marcos Baghdatis (Cyprus), Kateryna Bondarenko (Ukraine), Viktoria Azarenka (Belarus), Uladzimir Ignatik (Belarus), Ricardas Berankis (Lithuania) and Li Na (China).

Programme for the tie:
Friday 4 March: 9.45am: Opening Ceremony. The first singles match will start at 10am with the second rubber following immediately thereafter.
Saturday 5 March: 12.00pm: Doubles Match
Sunday 6 March: 10am: First reverse singles match, followed by final singles match.
All the matches are played as the best of five sets until a result has been achieved.

Tickets to the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Euro/Africa Zone Group 2 South Africa vs Luxembourg tie are available at R100.00 per person and at R250 for a season ticket (three day ticket) via Webtickets.co.za and instore at Pick n Pay’s with Money Counters


TOP TENNIS STAR NOT NAMED IN LUXEMBOURG SIDE TO FACE SOUTH AFRICA IN DAVIS CUP

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg – Gilles Muller, the top rated Luxembourg player has not been named in the four man Luxembourg team to face South Africa next weekend in their crucial Europe/Africa Zone Group 2 First Round Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Tie.

The tie to be played from 4-6 March will be staged at the Irene Country Club, Pretoria.

Muller’s exclusion in the nominated team named by the Luxembourg Tennis Federation on Tuesday should be welcome news for South African Captain Marcos Ondruska and his squad as Muller posed a big threat to the South African’s especially on high altitude. The talented left hander is ranked 46 in world tennis and was ranked as high as 34 last year. Muller has boasted wins over several top ten players in recent years.

The team named by Luxembourg are ; Ugo Nastasi, Alex Knaff, Tom Diedeich, Mike Scheidweiler with Johny Goudenbour as the non-playing captain.

The Luxembourg Tennis Federation have not yet stated the reason for Gilles Muller not being nominated.

South African captain Marcos Ondruska has named his four man team as Tucker Vorster, Lloyd Harris, Ruan Roelofse and Dean O’Brien. Originally Ondruska also named Keith-Patrick Crowley as part of his squad and Ondruska confirmed that Crowley would still travel to South Africa as part of the South African outfit.

“The rules in Davis Cup are that 10 days before the tie you have to name no more than four players to the International Tennis Federation (ITF)” said Ondruska. “Keith-Patrick may not have been named on Tuesday but he still can be named to play as according to Davis Cup regulations, two changes may be made up until 1 hour prior to the Draw, which is Thursday next week at 10:00 (09:00 is the deadline for the changes). This applies to Luxembourg as well and top player Gilles Muller could still be included in their team” continued Ondruska.

The teams announced are;

South Africa
Tucker Vorster (single: 301, doubles: 434)
Lloyd Harris (singles: 339, doubles: 595)
Ruan Roelofse (doubles: 129 )
Dean O’Brien (doubles: 123)
Captain: Marcos Ondruska

Luxembourg
Ugo Nastasi (singles:762, doubles:764)
Alex Knaff ( — )
Tom Diederich ( — )
Mike Scheidweiler (doubles: 1442 )
Captain: Johny Goudenbour

South Africa is ranked 56 and Luxembourg is ranked 58 on the Davis Cup world rankings. This is the first time the two nations will be playing each other.

Programme for the tie:
Friday 4 March: 9.45am: Opening Ceremony. The first singles match will start at 10am with the second rubber following immediately thereafter.
Saturday 5 March: 12.00pm: Doubles Match
Sunday 6 March: 10am: First reverse singles match, followed by final singles match.
All the matches are played as the best of five sets until a result has been achieved.

Tickets to the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Euro/Africa Zone Group 2 South Africa vs Luxembourg tie are available at R100.00 per person and at R250 for a season ticket (three day ticket) via Webtickets.co.za and instore at Pick n Pay’s with Money Counters


POTCHEFSTROOM HOSTS BACK TO BACK INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR TENNIS TOURNAMENT SERIES

Potchefstroom, North West Province - North West University have partnered with Tennis South Africa (TSA) to stage two international junior tennis tournaments in Potchefstroom starting today (Monday). TSA announced the seeds for this week’s tournament namely the NWU/RVTA ITF 1.

Boys top seed Bertus Kruger of South Africa

Girls top seed Mila Hartig of South Africa.

Picture credit: BLD Communications


This will be the 11th year that Potchefstroom have hosted the series and both tournaments will be played at the flagship Riaan Venter Tennis Academy on the North West University Potchefstroom Campus.

The tournaments to be called the NWU/RVTA ITF 1 and NWU/RVTA ITF 2 will be played from 22 to 26 February and 29 February - 04 March 2016 respectively.

Both tournaments form part of the International Tennis Federation’s Junior Circuit with junior tennis players from 18 countries participating. Players will earn world ranking junior points from both events.

Helene Botha, Manager Women’s Sport at North West University said NWU Potchefstroom were proud to partner Tennis South Africa with the tournaments. “We are sure that the NWU Potchefstroom environment will add to the experience for these top junior players, and look forward to a hugely successful series.”

Tennis South Africa President, Gavin Crookes said that both tournaments were a boost not only for tennis in the North West Province but South Africa. “It is no secret that Tennis South Africa runs one of the most successful and comprehensive junior tennis programmes in the world. These two NWU Potchefstroom hosted international tournaments will not only complement our programmes but will give our local players a golden opportunity of earning world ranking points on their doorstep. “It is pleasing to see so many local and international players coming to compete. Potchefstroom is one of the top sporting hubs in our country and hats off to North West University for producing world class sports stars over the years. I am confident that the internationals will be happy with the facility and are most likely to return as a result in the future. Our sincere thanks to Riaan Venter and North West University for their support, ” continued Crookes.

The seeds are as follows;

Boys
1. Bertus Kruger (RSA)
2. Mehluli Sibanda (Zim)
3. Michael Copeland (RSA)
4. Sipho Montsi (RSA)
5. Florent Bax (Fra)
6. Matthew Johnson (RSA)
7. Matthew Astell (RSA)
8. Jordan Sauer (RSA)

Girls
1. Mila Hartig (RSA)
2. Imaan Hassim (RSA)
3. Maja Gledic (RSA)
4. Megan Lombardi (RSA)
5. Margo Landmann (RSA)
6. Olivia Elliott (GBR)
7. Noya Ohana (Isr)
8. Shani Dubinchik (Isr)


OFFICIALS ANNOUNCED FOR UPCOMING DAVIS CUP TIE

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

The tie to be played at the Irene Country Club outside Pretoria from 4 – 6 March will be the start of the South African challenge to regain their spot in the Euro Africa Group 1 next year.

The Referee and ITF Representative at the Tie will be experienced umpire, Dima Leifman of Israel.

The two chair umpires, both from South Africa are Ephraim Motsiane (Katlehong, Gauteng East) and Tebogo Maleke (Soweto, Gauteng Central)

Mpho Makhoba (Attridgeville Gauteng North) has been named as Chief of Umpires and this is Makhoba’s first assignment after having obtained her International Chief of Umpire certification in October last year. Makhoba however has enormous Davis Cup experience having worked at several previous home ties.

Leifman will be making his first trip to South Africa. Leifman, 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.

Motsiane, a white badge official with the ITF started officiating in 1997. He has been chair umpire in the Davis Cup ties staged in South Africa against Hungary and Poland and has worked the lines at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and three Australian Open Championships.

Maleke will be making his Davis Cup debut after obtaining his White Badge in Cape Town in November 2015.

Programme for the tie:
Friday 4 March: 9.45am: Opening Ceremony. The first singles match will start at 10am with the second rubber following immediately thereafter.
Saturday 5 March: 12.00pm: Doubles Match
Sunday 6 March: 10am: First reverse singles match, followed by final singles match.
All the matches are played as the best of five sets until a result has been achieved.

Tickets to the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Euro/Africa Zone Group 2 South Africa vs Luxembourg tie are available at R100.00 per person and at R250 for a season ticket (three day ticket) via Webtickets.co.za and instore at Pick n Pay’s with Money Counters


SOUTH AFRICA READY TO HOST LUXEMBOURG AT IRENE COUNTRY CLUB

Pretoria, South Africa - Davis Cup ties are as much about ambiance as they are about competition and both the players and the fans will be treated to top-class tennis in a superb environment when South Africa take on Luxembourg in a Euro/Africa Zone Group 2 Davis Cup tie from 4 – 6 March 2016.

Irene Country Club venue for the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Euro/Africa Zone Group 2 South Africa vs Luxembourg tie to be played from Friday 4 March to Sunday 6 March 2016.

Picture credit: Reg Caldecott


The tie will be staged at the Irene Country Club on the specially constructed Davis Cup championship tennis court in the tennis section of the club. “This is a fantastic event at a fantastic venue and it made complete sense for us to return again to Irene Country Club,” exclaimed Gavin Crookes, President of Tennis South Africa (TSA).
“The Davis Cup is one of the most prestigious events on the tennis calendar and is vital for the growth of the sport in South Africa. To be able to hold this event in a superb facility of this nature only adds to its stature.”
South Africa and Luxembourg have never played against each other which lends to the excitement of the tie.

Whatever happens on the court, the Luxembourgers are sure to relish the hospitality they will receive at Irene Country Club. Situated in the south of Tshwane just outside Pretoria, the club is perfectly located in Gauteng for spectators from Johannesburg and Pretoria as well as those travelling in from Ekurhuleni and Mogale City.

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 include a golf course, restaurants and conference facilities which make up the perfect ingredients for a top class Davis Cup venue.

Craig Herbst, Irene Country Club Tennis Chairman, comments: “The partnership between Irene Country Club and Tennis South Africa has grown from strength to strength, and the upcoming tie between South Africa and Luxembourg promises to be our best event to date. We are honoured to have been entrusted with this responsibility once again, and are mindful of the role that the venue plays in ensuring a successful and unforgettable event. The opportunity to watch international tennis in the beautiful Irene setting is quite special, and is not to be missed. We welcome the public to join us for the fun and excitement – we are confident they won’t be disappointed!”

Other than the on court action, there will be plenty to eat and drink and music for the fans throughout the tie. A Beer Garden will be available and the practice courts will be open for the public to see first-hand the top players preparing for the tie.

The tie will be played on a hard court (Barracourt) with seats for 500 spectators.

Programme for the tie:
Friday 4 March: 9.45am: Opening Ceremony. The first singles match will start at 10am with the second rubber following immediately thereafter.
Saturday 5 March: 12.00pm: Doubles Match
Sunday 6 March: 10am: First reverse singles match, followed by final singles match.
All the matches are played as the best of five sets until a result has been achieved.

Tickets to the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Euro/Africa Zone Group 2 South Africa vs Luxembourg tie are available at R100.00 per person and at R250 for a season ticket (three day ticket) via Webtickets.co.za and instore at Pick n Pay’s with Money Counters


IRENE COUNTRY CLUB ANNOUNCED AS DAVIS CUP VENUE

Johannesburg, South Africa - It was no surprise when Tennis South Africa (TSA) announced Tuesday they had opted for a high altitude venue for their forthcoming Davis Cup by BNP Euro Africa Group 2 round 1 tie vs Luxembourg.

Irene Country Club tennis court to be used for South Africa vs Luxembourg tie from 4 to 6 March 2016.

Picture credit: Reg Caldecott


The Irene Country Club in the City of Tshwane was once again named by TSA as the preferred venue for the tie to be played next month from 4 to 6 March, 2016.
A medium to fast hard court will be laid for the tie.

This is the first time South Africa and Luxembourg will meet in Davis Cup competition and it will be the first time newly appointed South African Davis Cup Captain, Marcos Ondruska will lead his country.

South Africa in 2015 went up against Ireland in the Euro/Africa Relegation play-offs also staged in Centurion at the Irene Country Club where South Africa romped past Ireland 5-0 and avoided relegation to Group 1. Fritz Wolmarans and Tucker Vorster won a couple of tight four-setters on the opening day to give the hosts a handy 2-0 lead. Then Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse combined in the doubles contest to seal the tie. Vorster and Roelofse added to Ireland’s misery, by triumphing in the Sunday reverse singles too.

Luxembourg in 2015 got no joy when they drew Bulgaria. Bulgaria took the tie 5-0 meaning Luxembourg remains in group 2 for 2016.
Luxembourg’s best performances in the Davis Cup competition have been reaching the Europe/Africa Zone Group I second round, which it achieved in 1993, 2003, 2004 and 2006.

Irene has played host to 3 Davis Cup ties over the past 2 years. South Africa won the ties versus Monaco and Ireland but lost closely to Lithuania making it a happy hunting ground for the hosts.

Tie Director, Clark Coetzee said that the success of hosting the Davis Cup at Irene Country Club over the past two years made the choice easy. “TSA enjoys a sound working relationship with Irene Country Club and our players have always given the club and the crowd support it attracts the thumbs up” said Coetzee.

Tickets are available at R100.00 per person and at R250 for a season ticket via Webtickets.co.za and Pick n Pay stores.


DISAPPOINTING START FOR TEAM SOUTH AFRICA IN FED CUP

Eilat, Israel - South Africa made a disappointing start to their Fed Cup Euro Africa Group 1 campaign being played in Israel on Wednesday.

Drawn into Pool B with second seeds Great Britain and Georgia, South Africa faced Georgia in their opening tie at the Municipal Tennis Centre in Eilat.
Georgia beat South Africa 3-0 which means that should South Africa have any chance of playing for promotion come the weekend they will have to beat the fancied Great Britain team on Thursday.

Madrie Le Roux, the South African number 2 opened procedures but lost to Georgia number 1, Ekaterine Gergodze 3-6 1-6 in a rubber that lasted 18 minutes short of two hours.

Then it was the turn of South African number 1, Chanel Simmonds against Georgia number 2 Sophia Shapatava.
Ranked some 100 places higher than her opponent at 226, Shapatava played smartly and consistently to beat Simmonds 7-5 6-4. The victory secured her side the tie win.

In the dead doubles rubber, Ekaterine Gergodze returned to court and together with Keteryna Bondarenko to beat South Africa’s Illze Hattingh and Michelle Sammons 6-4 7-6 (6) and give Georgia the clean sweep.

On Thursday South Africa play a strong Great Britain who is captained by Judy Murray, mother of Andy Murray. South Africa will be relieved that the British number one Johanna Konta has withdrawn from the tournament due to intestinal problems. Konta is one of the rising stars of world tennis having just reached the semifinals of the Australian open losing to eventual winner Angelique Kerber.

DAY 1 RESULTS OF THE 2016 FED CUP BY BNP PARIBAS EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP I

Selected results of the 2016 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Europe/Africa Zone Group I played in Eilat, Israel on Wednesday.

Georgia beat South Africa 3-0

Singles
Ekaterine Gorgodze (Geo) bt Madrie Le Roux (RSA) 6-3 6-1
Sofia Shapatava (Geo) bt Chanel Simmonds (RSA) 7-5 6-4

Doubles
Ekaterine Gorgodze/Oksana Kalashnikova (Geo) bt Ilze Hattingh/Michelle Sammons (RSA) 6-4 7-6 (6)


DRAWS MADE FOR 2016 FED CUP BY BNP PARIBAS EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUPEVENT

Eilat, Israel - The ITF has announced the official draw for the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Europe/Africa Zone Group I event taking place from 3-6 February 2016.
The four day event will be played in Eilat, Israel at the Municipal Tennis Centre there.

The fourteen nations contesting the Europe/Africa Zone Group I event are Sweden, Portugal, Ukraine, Great Britain, Georgia, Croatia, Estonia, Israel, Turkey, Hungary, Belgium, Bulgaria, Latvia and South Africa.All nations contesting the Zone Group I events will be bidding to qualify for the Fed Cup World Group II play-offs on 16-17 April, with two teams qualifying from the Europe/Africa Zone, and one team from both the Americas and Asia/Oceania Zones.

South Africa have drawn second seeds Great Britain and Georgia in their Pool B. South Africa will play Great Britain for their opening match on Wednesday morning followed by unseeded Georgia Wednesday afternoon.

Britain who is captained by mother of Andy Murray, Judy confirmed Monday that their star player Johanna Konta would miss the tournament due to an intestinal issue. Konta was a surprise semi-finalist at last week’s Australian Open where she lost to eventual winner Angelique Kerber. She also reached the fourth round of last year’s US Open and is ranked 47 in the world. With Konta out, the British side will be spearheaded by Heather Watson ranked 79 on the world rankings.
Georgia’s players are ranked around the same as the South African players on the world rankings but with the tournament being played on hard court, team South Africa could have an advantage over their opponents who prefer the slow clay.

Team Captain Earl Grainger said that his team faced a big challenge in Israel. “Let’s not kid ourselves we are in a very tough tournament and have drawn the second seeds in our opening pool. We were promoted last year largely to the fact that Chani Scheepers made herself available for the team and not losing a rubber. But with Chani retiring late last year we have no player in the top 150 to lead our challenge. But we have a very competent and enthusiastic team who are able to deliver so South Africa can be well assured of our best efforts always.”

The draw conducted Monday is as follows;

POOL A
1-Sweden
Portugal
Ukraine

POOL B
2-Great Britain
Heather Watson
Anna Smith
Jocelyn Rae
(Fourth member to be confirmed)
Captain: Judy Murray

Georgia
Sofia Shapatava
Ekaterine Gorgodze
Sofia Kvatsabaia
Oksana Kalashnikova
Captain: Margalita Chakhnashvili-Ranzinger

South Africa
Chanel Simmonds
Ilze Hattingh
Madrie Le Roux
Michelle Sammons
Captain: Earl Grainger

POOL C
3-Croatia
Estonia
Israel
Turkey

POOL D
4-Hungary
Belgium
Bulgaria
Latvia

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