The South African Junior Davis Cup team jetted into Mexico on Sunday ahead of this week’s World Junior Davis Cup by BNP PARIBAS final. The finals will be played from 23-28 September in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The South African team comprising of Damon Kesaris (KwaZulu-Natal), Richard Thongoana (Gauteng Central), Calvin Jordaan (Western Province) and coach Jared Temlett (KwaZulu-Natal) join Egypt as the only African nations in the 16 team competition.
The other teams competing are, last year’s finalists Korea , hosts Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, USA, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden. The team took 30 hours to get to San Luis Potosi and immediately on arrival scheduled practice sessions. “Our boys enjoyed two solid training sessions after the mammoth trip to Mexico. On Monday we will have another opportunity for the team to fine tune their game in the morning followed by the opening ceremony and draw in the evening,” said Temlett. Kesaris said, “I’m feeling healthy and confident going into the Junior Davis Cup in Mexico. It’s always a huge honour representing the green and gold especially at such a prestigious tournament. We’ve had an intense four days training camp in Durban before we left, which was really good as we trained hard and feel we are ready for what lies ahead. Junior Davis Cup competition is really tough, but the boys have big hearts and good attitudes which can only lead to success. We are glad to be in Mexico and can’t wait to start competing! Last year the South African boys came 10th which is really good, this year with a solid team and good coach we are striving to reach the top 8, that would be the ultimate.”
The tournament starts on Tuesday with the top 16 countries drawn into 4 groups of 4 teams. There will be a round-robin competition within each group with the 4 group winners qualifying for a play-off on Friday and Saturday. Thongoana said, “I’m feeling ready and pumped up for this great and prestigious tournament. Training for me last week was fun yet very tough fun as I was competing with my team mates and close friends Calvin Jordaan and Damon Kesaris. The team is ready and all have big hearts to go and play with the best junior’s in the world. Our goal is to try beat our 10th position place last year so we are hoping to be in the single digits zone this year.” Jordaan said, “I am feeling strong and confident going into the Junior Davis Cup final here in Mexico. I am extremely excited to be participating in such a prestigious event, especially under the circumstances of representing my own country, South Africa. Our team had an intense few days on the court preparing ourselves for the challenges that lie ahead of us in Mexico in Durban last week. We are all confident and ready to compete against the best juniors in the world. Our goal for ourselves would be to go there and give our best performance and to try better last year’s result, ending 10th. So hopefully we can get into single digits this year!”
Photo: The South African Junior Davis Cup team from left; Richard Thongoana (Gauteng North), Damon Kesaris (KwaZulu-Natal) and Calvin Jordaan (Western Province)
Photo: BLD Communications