BRISBANE, Australia, January 3 (ANA) – Team South Africa will get its campaign underway at the ATP Cup on Saturday, as first-time captain and renowned ATP coach Jeff Coetzee leads a young, exciting team in the inaugural team event.
The international men’s event is currently being staged in three different Australian cities (Perth, Brisbane and Sydney) from 3-10 January, in the lead-up to the year’s first Grand Slam, the Australian Open, and will feature teams from 24 countries.
Coetzee said that his team were feeling comfortable, confident and working hard in their preparation. “It has been a great few days of preparations. Everyone in the team is feeling good and ready to go. The whole team has prepared well thus far, and we are all just very excited about the event and cannot wait to compete.”
“I love team competitions. The whole team is in good spirits and it is so fitting to start the year in a team competition,” added the 42-year-old Coetzee.
South Africa will play their opener on Saturday in Group A against Serbia in Brisbane.
Coetzee said that team South Africa are a well-balanced side of youth and experienced with Kevin Anderson and Raven Klaasen in the mix, but admitted it will be tough playing a Serbian team spearheaded by current world number two, Novak Djokovic.
“We have to believe we can beat Serbia. On paper, we are underdogs but from my experience in team competitions, anything is possible on the day if we trust and believe we can beat them.”
“It’s great to have Kevin in the team, he is an asset, a great professional and he most certainly will help to put us in a great position.”
Anderson will make a welcome return to the ATP Tour for the first time in six months, representing Team South Africa at the ATP Cup, which is being held in Brisbane,
“It’s a great opportunity to represent South Africa in this format, which makes a lot of sense for players,” said Anderson. “We have a good team with Lloyd, who continues to get better, and Raven, who had an amazing year in doubles.,” Anderson told ATPTour.com.
Anderson, who has not played competitively since early July due to a right knee injury, will lead Team South Africa in Brisbane alongside Lloyd Harris, Ruan Roelofse, Kholo Montsi and Raven Klaasen.
Anderson will be looking to put South Africa on the front foot in the opening singles rubber on Saturday with the in-form Harris nominated to play the second singles rubber. The doubles rubber was left for experienced Klaasen and his Davis Cup partner Roelofse.
The Group A tie between South Africa and Serbia is scheduled to be broadcast from 09h30 (SA time) on SuperSport 6 (DSTV Channel #206). – African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Herman Gibbs