SA to face full-strength Polish team
Poland have announced their best possible team to face South Africa this weekend in the crucial Euro-Africa Group 1 Davis Cup tie in Zielona Góra.
Captain Radosaw Szymanik included Poland's top-ranked singles player, world number 24 Jerzy Janowicz, when he named his team on Tuesday for the three-day tie, alongside Lukasz Kubot, the Polish No 2.
Kubot, rated 91st in the world, is well over 100 places higher than South Africa's top-ranked team member, veteran Rik de Voest, who is 227th in the ATP list.
And while the underdog SA side boast experienced doubles specialist Raven Klaasen, who is 55th in the world, the Polish pairing of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski are both rated among the top 20 doubles players on the ATP Tour.
The two other players in the SA squad, Ruan Roelofse and Jean Anderson, are both ranked well outside the top 500 in the world in singles competition.
The South Africans are without the country's No 1, and world number 29, Kevin Anderson, who made himself unavailable for the tie, and SA No 3 Izak van der Merwe, a Davis Cup stalwart, because of an ankle injury.
Exciting 22 year-old prospect Nikala Scholtz, who made an impressive Davis Cup debut last year when he held Canadian star Milos Raonic to three closely-contested sets, is unavailable due to commitments at the University of Mississippi.
Tennis SA said Szymanik had confirmed that his entire team was healthy and both their top 100-ranked singles players had arrived in Poland last week to prepare for the tie.
Fyrstenberg and Matkowski, who are ironically coached by SA Davis Cup captain John-Laffnie de Jager, joined the home squad on Monday after losing in the final of the Sony Open in Miami, Florida, at the weekend.
The South African team arrived in Zielona Góra on Sunday.
De Jager confirmed they had arrived "tired and cold with all the snow but in good spirits and ready for the week ahead."
The tie, to be played on hard court indoors, for a place in the World Group playoffs, starts on Friday.