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Tennis | SA Tennis

John-Laffnie de Jager © Gallo Images

'Roelofse might surprise Slovenians'



South African tennis Davis Cup captain John-Laffnie de Jager says Ruan Roelofse might surprise the Slovenian team in their Euro-Africa group one qualifier at the Arthur Ashe tennis centre in Soweto, that starts on Friday.

Roelofse was drawn to play first against Slovenian No 1 Blaz Kavcic, who is 109th in the ATP singles rankings in the world and 250 places higher than the young South African.

"He's [Roelofse] been playing well and that's why we've selected him to play," said De Jager.

"I think he's going to surprise a few people, it's to our advantage. Roelofse can just go out there and play because he's got no pressure on him."

De Jager also mentioned the advantage of the Davis Cup rookie playing in the first match.

"When you play Davis Cup and are in the second match, you actually have no idea what time you are likely to play," he said.

"So I think for Roelofse playing his first match, it's good to go off first."

Roelofse has welcomed the responsibility of representing his country.

"It's my first time to play and it's a real honour playing for your country. I'm really excited to step onto court," Roelofse said.

"I've prepared well and I'm ready to go."

Playing earlier will mean lower temperatures: "It's pretty much the perfect temperature to play tennis," the 22-year-old said.

"Playing up first is a good thing, so I don't have to hang around the courts all day."

The hosts' hopes rely heavily on No 1 Izak van der Merwe, who will also partner Raven Klaasen in the crucial doubles match on Saturday.

"It's nice coming into the tie and knowing that I'm going to play on the weekend," said Van der Merwe.

"I've been part of the SA Davis Cup squad for quite a while and I've played in many ties before.

"I feel pretty good about it. The doubles is a big part of the tie, it could swing either way, so it's very important to play well on Saturday as well as Friday."

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