Anderson keen to play for SA – but not this time

Kevin Anderson will again miss a South African Davis Cup tie, but the world No 15 is keen to return to action, according to caretaker coach Earl Grainger.

Grainger yesterday named a weakened four-man team to face Turkey in a Euro-Africa Zone Group 2 tie in Mersin from March 6-8.

Fritz Wolmarans, the team’s top-ranked singles player at 429 in the world, and doubles specialist Raven Klaasen, ranked 29th, will spearhead SA’s challenge.

Tucker Vorster (431) and Ruan Roelofse (457) make up the team. Dean O’Brien (709) is the non-travelling reserve.

Nicolaas Scholtz (444) was unavailable because he returned to college to finish his studies.

“He [Anderson] hasn’t made himself available for this Turkey tie because of his travelling schedule at the moment,” Grainger said.

“But his doors are very wide open to talk about the next tie.

“He’s not against playing for South Africa . . . he wants to play. It just has to fit into his schedule, Grainger said of Anderson, who has not played for his country since September 2011.

Grainger was heartened by the fact that Anderson had quizzed him about SA’s next tie, scheduled for July 17-19. The winner and loser of SA versus Turkey would play the respective winner and loser of Ireland and Belarus.

“He asked me where the ties would be and who we will play if we won or lost. Those are positive questions.

“We would love to have him. He’s the face of South African tennis.”

Turkey’s frontline player is Marsel Ilhan, 102 in the world, followed by Cem Ilkel (411), but Grainger is confident going into the showdown.

“I think it’s about 50-50 . . . I can’t call it. We’ve got a lot of experience in our team. We’ve got guys who’ve played a lot of Davis Cup matches.”

Klaasen is the most experienced Davis Cup player, with seven matches won and four lost, followed by Wolmarans with an impressive record of eight wins and one defeat. Roelofse is 2-4 and Vorster 0-1. The Turks had opted to play the tie on hard courts instead of clay, a factor that suited South Africa, Grainger said.

“We definitely prefer hard court – we’ve got big hitters and big servers. I much prefer playing on the hard court.”

The team will leave on February 28.

-David Isaacson

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