Ireland has announced their best team to face seeded South Africa this July in the relegation play-offs of the Europe/Africa Zone Group 2 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Tie. The tie to be played from 17 to 19 July will be staged just outside of Pretoria, at the Irene Country Club. Ireland’s non-playing captain Conor Niland nominated his four best players including the highest ranked Irish player, on the ATP World Tour, James McGee for their away tie.
McGee, 28, is currently ranked 155 in the world. The Irish team announced is; James McGee, Sam Barry, they will be joined by doubles specialists James Cluskey & David O’Hare. South African Davis Cup Captain, Earl Grainger said that the Irish team announced would be pose a big challenge to his team: ‘This is a very strong and competitive Irish side. They pose a major threat to South Africa and ranking wise their players over the past few years have impressed. South Africa are going to have to work very hard and use the high altitude advantage to give themselves the best chance. But the Irish guys are big and strong and have solid serves so even though we playing on altitude, it’s going to be a hard fight for team South Africa.’
South Africa has not yet announced its team and they have up to 10 days before the tie to announce the team. Grainger said he was still negotiating with players to put together the best possible team: ‘Between Tennis South Africa (TSA) President Gavin Crookes and myself, we are in negotiations with all the South African players including our top ranked singles player Kevin Anderson and top ranked doubles player Raven Klaasen to make themselves available for the tie come July. With Ireland naming such a strong team, TSA and I need time to select our best possible team to give us every chance of winning at Irene Country Club in July and remaining in the Euro/Africa Group 2.’
South Africa and Ireland have played each other twice before (1927 and 1931) with the honours going South Africa’s way on both occasions. However, both previous ties have been staged in Dublin and on grass this will be the first time the two nations will meet on South African shores. South Africa endured mixed fortunes in 2014, winning against Monaco in the first round and losing to Lithuania in the second to remain in Europe/Africa Zone Group 2.
The Irish team is as follows:
James McGee (Singles 155 Doubles 556)
Sam Barry (Singles 378 Doubles 345)
James Cluskey (Singles 1751 Doubles 160) David O’Hare (Singles 1485 Doubles 247) Captain: Conor Niland
Photo by Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images