19 February 2014
Tennis South Africa (TSA) has confirmed the Irene Country Club in Centurion as the venue for South Africa’s second round Davis Cup tie against Lithuania in a Euro Africa Zone Group II fixture.
The two countries will meet for the first time in the history of the competition from 4 to 6 April with the victor progressing to a promotion play-off and the chance to advance to Europe Africa Zone Group I.
South Africa is aiming to bounce straight back into Group I after being relegated last year, while Lithuania has never been higher than Zone Group II in the 20 years they have competed in the Davis Cup.
Gavin Crookes, the Acting CEO of TSA, said his organisation had formed a good working partnership with Irene Country Club and it made sense due to the working relationship and popularity of the venue to bring the Davis Cup back to Irene.
‘A huge success’
“The last tie was a huge success and it was mainly due to the hard working and committed Irene Country Club committee and their fabulous venue,” Crookes said. “The players loved the venue and also requested to TSA to return there.”
Crookes said the match court at the Irene Country Club would be increased in size following a request by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) that it should conform to international Davis Cup regulations.
“When the ITF asked us to increase the size of the match court, we approached Irene Country Club and they had no hesitation in accepting the ITF conditions and have assured TSA that they will increase the court size accordingly, which in the long term will benefit the club,” Crookes explained.
Craig Herbst, the Chairman of Irene Country Club Tennis, expressed his delight that the club would again be hosting a Davis Cup tie. “We were delighted to receive such overwhelmingly positive feedback about Irene Country Club as a Davis Cup Venue after the last tie,” he said.
“The Club has taken a decision that the hosting of such events forms part of our strategic planning, and intends to partner closely with Tennis South Africa in helping to bring the magic of tennis to more and more South Africans.
“We look forward to welcoming Team South Africa back to the venue, and hosting Team Lithuania for the first time.”
De Voest’s home
Rik de Voest, who in the absence of Kevin Anderson, has played as the South African number one in recent times, was brought up on the Irene Country Club courts and will no doubt be relishing the opportunity to play there once again.
Last month, South Africa beat Monaco 3-2 at the venue after building up an unbeatable 3-1 lead. On that occasion the South African team featured Raven Klaasen, who was fresh off a runner-up finish in the Australian Open doubles. This past weekend he claimed the doubles title at the US National Indoor Tennis Championships in Memphis, USA, with his partner Eric Butorac.