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Tennis | SA Tennis

John-Laffnie de Jager © Gallo images

SA Davis Cup captain tastes French success



South African Davis Cup captain John-Laffnie de Jager, a doubles specialist during his career, has become an international coach of some renown.

De Jager added another doubles coaching success to his repertoire on Thursday when Jean-Julien Rojer of The Netherlands won the Roland Garros mixed doubles title with his German partner Anna-Lena Groenefeld.

The unseeded Rojer-Groenefeld pairing beat eighth seeded Serbian Nenad Zimonjic and his German partner Julia Goerges 4-6 6-2 10-7.

"Roger basically raised his level in the second set and was the dominant factor from this point," De Jager said.

"While mixed doubles is not given the kind of prominence on the international tennis circuit it once used to enjoy, winning any grand slam event is a notable achievement."

De Jager, 41, was Wesley Moodie's coach when the former South African Davis Cup player won the Wimbledon men's doubles title with Australian Stephen Huss in 2005.

Also included in recent years in his coaching stable have been the former United States Open and Polish Davis Cup pairing of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski.

De Jager has enjoyed considerable successes as one of the top coaches in the American Team Tennis format, with the squad under his charge reaching last year's final.

"Nothing would give me greater pleasure in the game but to help guide the national squad into the World Group of the biggest and most varied international annual sporting event," he said.

South Africa has currently dropped from its lofty position as a formidable force in Davis Cup competition over the years to the Euro-Africa Group Two segment of the competition, while also failing in a bid to gain promotion to Euro-Africa Group One this year.

As a player, De Jager reached a number-11 world doubles ranking and played in three Grand Slam doubles finals, while reaching a doubles final at the Olympic Games as well.

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