The World Group quarterfinals will be grabbing the headlines during the next wave of Davis Cup by BNP Paribas action on 8-10 July, but there are also some vital Zone Group ties taking place as nations continue their promotion and relegation battles.
South Africa are one of those nations bidding for promotion, as John-Laffnie de Jager’s men host Netherlands in the Europe/Africa Zone Group I second round, being played in Potchefstroom, near Johannesburg.
The South African team welcome back world No. 39 Kevin Anderson, making his first Davis Cup appearance since 2008, alongside Izaak van der Merwe, Rik de Voest and doubles specialist Wesley Moodie.
"I'm really looking forward to the Davis Cup tie," said Anderson. "It's an honour representing South Africa and I am pleased to be able to do so. Netherlands are a very good team and we will have to play well to get through, but we all look forward to the challenge. I'm sure it will be an exciting tie."
Anderson’s impressive return to form in 2011 has seen him capture his first tour title, on home soil in Johannesburg. His inclusion means South Africa will be at full strength for the visit of the Dutch, and de Jager is looking forward to having his first choice line-up available.
“The guys are very excited,” said the South African captain. "It’s great to have Kevin back. He hasn’t been available for the last two-and-half-years, so to have him in the team adds a great new dimension. Along with Wesley, it gives us great new options as far as doubles are concerned.”
The winner of the tie progresses to the World Group play-offs in September, which would be a step closer to de Jager’s ultimate dream of securing a spot for South Africa in the competition’s top tier. "For two years now we’ve been trying to making it into the World Group and that’s the goal we’ll be working towards,” he added.
While South Africa gained a bye in March’s opening round, Netherlands were made to work hard for their 3-2 away win over Ukraine. The result was finally secured by Robin Haase with a five-set victory in the deciding fifth rubber.
Haase is currently the top ranked Dutch player at No. 59 in the world, with Thiemo de Bakker, Thomas Schoorel and Jesse Huta Galung likely to compete for the position as the team’s second singles player.
"They’re a very good team and they have one guy [Haase] close to the Top 50,” said de Jager. "These guys can play at altitude and they’ve always impressed me. They can play from the baseline and the net."
South Africa have already announced their side, but Netherlands are yet to confirm their players. The deadline for official nominations is not until 28 June.