Tennis South Africa (TSA) announce the provisional appointment of Earl Grainger as Davis Cup Captain on Monday. South Africa is due to play a Euro/Africa Zone Group 2 tie against Turkey in Mersin from March 6 to 8 and there was little time available to fill the gap left by the recent resignation of John-Laffnie D e Jager. Grainger, who is one of the most successful tennis coaches in the country, was appointed Fed Cup team captain last year and has already managed to build up a good rapport with all the players, so much so, that he is the first coach who has been able to bring South Africa’s Number One player, Chani Scheepers, back into the Fed Cup fold. Scheepers, after long discussions with Grainger, has confirmed she will be playing in the upcoming Europe/Africa Group 2 tie in Tallinn, Estonia from February 4 to 7.
This will be the first time in 10 years that South Africa will field its strongest team. As a player Grainger competed against the likes of Boris Becker, Brad Gilbert, Mike De Palmer, Paul Annecone and Dan Goldie. He won the US Sectional Indoor doubles title with Annecone, who later went on to coach some of the best-ever players such as Pete Sampras, Andy Murray and Roger Federer. Grainger practised at the prestigious Nick Bollettieri Academy together with Jimmy Arias, Chip Hooper, Mike De Palmer Junior and Annecone.
He learned his coaching career under Mike de Palmer senior who started the Nick Bollettieri Academy. Players who have made their names at his Earl Grainger Tennis Academy in Gauteng Central include Davis Cup members Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse as well as Fed Cup teammates Chanel Simmonds and Natasha Fourouclas. “John-Laffnie has done a great job with the Davis Cup team over the past nine years and I realise his shoes will be tough to fill. My role will be to build on what he has achieved. I was honoured when TSA approached me and I can assure everyone I will be 100 per cent committed to the task at hand,” said Grainger.
Gavin Crookes, President and acting CEO of TSA thanked Grainger for his assistance, “We are most grateful that Earl was prepared to step in at the last minute and work with the Davis Cup team. He has shown tremendous passion in his role as the Fed Cup captain and I am certain he will bring the same dedication to his work with the men’s team. We wish him every success in his new position.”
Photo credit: Reg Caldecott