Rising international star Lloyd Harris will spearhead a strong South African team packed with a mix of youth and experience in their Davis Cup by Rakuten World Group II tie against Venezuela next week.
A five-member national squad was named by SA captain Christo van Rensburg on Tuesday for the clash, to be played at a neutral venue (West Side Tennis Club) in New York on 18 and 19 September, a week after the conclusion of the US Open.
“Lloyd Harris is playing some of his best tennis, which is exciting, and this team has experience, youth, speed and power,” said Van Rensburg, who will lead the SA team for the first time.
Harris, the SA No 1, has displayed superb form this season, capped by his breakthrough at the US Open where he faces Alexander Zverev of Germany in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
And he will be well backed in the clash against Venezuela, with the squad also featuring Davis Cup veterans Ruan Roelofse and doubles specialist Raven Klaasen.
They will be joined by 20-year-old Philip Henning, and 21-year-old players Sipho Montsi, who are both based in the United States where they compete on the collegiate circuit.
“The depth of this team consists of the up-and-coming college stars, and being in New York makes it easier for them to get off from college duties,” Van Rensburg said.
“Coming together earlier than usual will give me more time with every player and to prepare them for the matches.”
The hard-court tie will be played at a neutral venue due to security concerns in Venezuela.
The official draw for the time will be held on Friday, 17 September.
“I look forward to the energy of brainstorming with the younger generation and also hearing from the more experienced players in this team,” Van Rensburg said.
“We will all learn from each other and I’m hoping we can play some amazing tennis.”
SA team (singles / doubles world ranking):
Lloyd Harris (46/274)
Raven Klaasen (NA/23)
Ruan Roelofse (783/229)
Sipho Montsi (1 358/1 231)
Philip Henning (NA/NA)
Captain – Christo van Rensburg
Ricardo Rodriguez (592/619)
Luis David Martinez (NA/99)
Brandon Perez (1 935/1 503)
Dimitri Badra (NA/NA)
Captain – Maurice Ruah