South African Davis Cup captain, Marcos Ondruska was upbeat at the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Euro/Africa Group 2 tie South Africa vs Luxembourg pre-draw media conference held in Pretoria on Tuesday. Ondruska says his team has settled and were in good spirits: ‘I have a good bunch of guys who are fit, strike the ball well and are happy and funny and the mood in the camp after two days of practice is upbeat.’ Ondruska says he was on track with his preparations and was confident his team would be reaching their peak by the weekend: ‘We don’t want to peak too soon so we slowly preparing each player to be ready by the weekend.’
It seemed that Ondruska was still sticking to his plan of playing Tucker Vorster and Lloyd Harris in the singles and Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse in the doubles over the weekend. The captain has however also brought Keith-Patrick Crowley into the squad and Crowley could play come Friday should any of the named four player be injured or lose form ahead of the official draw on Thursday. Vorster, a native of Pretoria says he is happy to be back in his home town and encouraged the fans to come out to support South Africa.
The Luxembourg team admitted that without their star player Gilles Muller being on their side, they had a weakened chance. Captain Johny Goudenbour says: ‘We are not sure if Gilles will arrive or not but at this stage he won’t be playing and that obviously isn’t great for us. Gilles is a top 50 player with a lot of experience and would bring a strong chance to the team.’ It seems as if the high altitude has troubled the Luxembourgers and made practice very difficult. Luxembourg number one Ugo Nastasi said that the balls were “flying” around the court and high altitude was a big challenge: ‘The court is fast and balls are flying and its taking some time to get used to the altitude but each practice has been better than the last and we are sure we will be ready by Friday.’
The South African Davis Cup team will go up against Luxembourg at the Irene Country Club for their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Europe/Africa Group 2 tie from 4-6 March. The South African team is made up of players Tucker Vorster, Lloyd Harris, Ruan Roelofse, Dean O’Brien, Keith-Patrick Crowley and team captain Marcos Ondruska. 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.
Photo credit: Reg Caldecott