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Tennis | SA Tennis

Izak van der Merwe © Gallo Images

One of my best experiences - Izak

Izak van der Merwe clinched the deciding point that sent hosts South Africa into the Davis Cup World Group playoffs on Sunday, with the country's No 1 saying that it was the best tennis experience of his life.

Van der Merwe claimed a straight sets victory over Blaz Kavcic in the first reverse singles rubber as South Africa claimed three of the first four points, to take an unassailable lead into the final singles match.

Clearly in good spirits Van der Merwe responded to being asked if he was happy with the win: "I wasn't happy at all," he quipped.

The 28-year-old then explained the significance of the win.

"As happy as you can be winning a tennis match. I think it's been one of my best experiences as a tennis player."

Playing as the No 1 for South Africa, Van der Merwe was victorious in all three of his rubbers, including a doubles win with Raven Klaasen.

"I was telling Raven I didn't wanna let anybody play the fifth rubber, I wanted to get the win for us. And whoever would go out there would have less pressure and just go swinging away and play a good match.

"I was really happy I could get through that match and finish the tie."

Playing in the three matches took its toll on Van Der Merwe as he sported strapping on his back on the final day.

"After Friday I felt quite tired, and we had a long week of training.

"So by Friday morning I felt I was ready to play but also I was also very tired.

"I got some tightness in my back but that's just usual and I can get through that, and I got some treatment but it was just a precaution.” Van der Merwe said the turning point in his match came in the first set tiebreak.

"I felt that first set tiebreak was really crucial. I was feeling quite tired, and especially after the tiebreak just from all the tennis I had played and also the pressure.

"But I knew I had a set on the board. I was telling JL [De Jager] every time you get a set on the board and you get those games, you get ahead, or a break, it just becomes tougher and tougher for your opponent to come back and win the match.

"Then I got that second set, and for him he'sgoing to have to win three sets in a row. So the key really was that tiebreak, after that I could just loosen up and dig deep to get the next two sets."


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