Hope for SA in Davis Cup

As expected, Moroccan Davis Cup captain Abdel-Rahim Moundir named a team without top players Younes El Aynaoui and Hicham Arazi for this weekend’s Euro/Africa zone group-one tie against South Africa, to be played at the Club Olympic de Tennis in Khemisset.

The four players selected to oppose the South Africans are Mehdi Ziadi, Mounir El Aarej, Mehdi Tahiri and Talal Ouahabi.

Newly appointed South African captain John-Laffnie de Jager has named Rik de Voest, Justin Bower, Jeff Coetzee and Chris Haggard.

Haggard had said earlier that El Aynaoui was involved in a dispute with the Moroccan federation over the sacking of previous coach Karim Alami, while Arazi was injured and therefore not available.

The Moroccan selection certainly opens the door for South Africa as El Aarej, at 395, is the highest ranked of the remaining players. Tahiri is next best at 650, Ziadi is ranked 747 and Ouahabi is at 818.

The draw will be made on Thursday and in terms of the rules, both captains are permitted to change two of their players up to one hour before the draw. In both cases this is unlikely to happen, although De Jager does have the services of 19-year-old Kevin Anderson at his disposal should injury or form call for a change.

The tie will be played on red clay, which will undoubtedly suit the home team, and the 1 200-seater Club Olympic de Tennis at the inland city of Khemisset is likely to be sold out.

Play is scheduled to begin at 1pm South African time (11am local time) for the singles matches on Friday and Sunday and 4pm South African time for the double rubber on Saturday.—Sapa

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