7 March 2014
Tennis South Africa on Thursday named two leading consultants to assist South African Davis Cup captain John-Laffnie De Jager in selecting his future Davis Cup teams.
The consultants, former professional players Robbie Koenig and Michael De Jongh, will sit with the captain at intervals throughout the year and discuss the performances of the country’s top players on the international circuit, and together debate the selection of players for the Davis Cup.
Koenig played on the ATP World Tour from 1992 to 2003 and reached a singles ranking high of 262 and doubles ranking high of 28. Ironically, Koenig partnered De Jager for a number of seasons as a professional, with the two reaching the semi- finals of the 1998 US Open.
During his career, Koenig won five doubles titles and was a finalist on six occasions. He also represented South Africa in the Davis Cup in 2003, against Portugal and Poland.
Nowadays Koenig is active on the ATP Tour as one of the world’s leading television commentators, working for the ATP at all their major events.
He said he was happy to assist Tennis South Africa and the Davis Cup captain in an advisory role. “With me being involved in high level international tennis on a weekly basis, I’ll be able to provide both with plenty of insight. John-Laffnie is very experienced in his role and I’ll be there to discuss any issues relating to Davis Cup should he so require.”
De Jongh played professional tennis, but made his name as a leading coach on the professional circuit coaching the likes of Martina Navratilova, Mary Pierce and Amanda Coetzer.
Since retiring as a touring coach, he has been active in tennis as a Tennis South Africa board member and television commentator.
‘Experience and knowledge’
“Tennis South Africa’s decision to appoint consultants of the ilk of Robbie Koenig and Michael De Jongh to assist and advise John-Laffnie on the Davis Cup Team and programme is a recognition of the substantial contribution of both experience and knowledge that South Africa’s former international players can bring to tennis in South Africa,” Tennis South Africa Vice President Gavin Crookes said in a statement.
“Furthermore, it also provides our Davis Cup captain with an important and objective sounding board that he is able to use and draw upon in his and Tennis South Africa’s quest to achieve South Africa’s goal of returning to the World Group Division of this team competition.”