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Tennis | SA Tennis

John-Laffnie de Jager © Gallo Images

Janowicz rise bad news for SA - De Jager



The rise of Poland's towering, 21-year-old Jerzy Janowicz, an overnight sensation in world tennis, is bad news for South Africa's Davis Cup team, according to captain John-Laffnie de Jager.

Janowicz, who secured a place as a qualifier in last week's Paris Masters, beat four of the world's top 20 players – including No 3 Andy Murray – before losing in the final to fifth-ranked David Ferrer, rising from a world ranking of 69th to 26th in a matter of a week.

South Africa are likely to play Poland in their next Euro-Africa Group One tie in Poland in April in the quest for an elusive return to the Davis Cup's World Group.

"A year ago Janowicz was a relative unknown ranked, 250th in the world, and not someone to be feared that much. Now it is a different story," De Jager said on Wednesday.

"His play in the Paris Open was quite awesome and he is already being tipped to become a world top-tenner in a short time."

While Poland must first beat Slovenia before qualifying to play South Africa in next year's global men's team competition, De Jager said the looming tie made it imperative to have top South African player Kevin Anderson back in the team.

Anderson, who has played only two Davis Cup ties in the last four seasons, declared himself unavailable for the recent World Group playoff against Canada.

"Janowicz against Anderson – that would be a match to savour – with both players standing at 6ft 8in and possessing awesome serving power," De Jager said.

The skipper admitted, however, that he had not spoken to Anderson since his controversial withdrawal from the Canadian tie.

"I cannot say what his plans are regarding Davis Cup participation next year," De Jager said.

Tennis South Africa CEO Ian Smith is due to have discussions with Anderson on the issue in the next few weeks, when the world number 36 is back in the country.

South Africa have fallen at the final hurdle for four years in succession in their bid to return to the elite Davis Cup World Group after more than a decade.

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