Thu, 25 Feb 2021

  • SA tennis legend Christo van Rensburg has been named as new Davis Cup captain.
  • Van Rensburg is a former doubles Grand Slam winner and during his career enjoyed singles wins over the likes of Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Pat Rafter and Pete Sampras.
  • As part of the new structure, current ATP star Raven Klaasen has been named as SA's Davis Cup vice-captain.

Tennis South Africa (TSA) on Tuesday announced the appointment of local tennis legend, Christo van Rensburg, as the country's new Davis Cup captain.

Van Rensburg succeeds Marcos Ondruska, who decided to step down after five years at the helm.

Van Rensburg, who now resides in the United States, enjoyed a hugely successful tennis career and is one of South Africa's most well-known former players - including representing the country at both Davis Cup and Olympic level.

He played on the professional tour from 1983 to 1997 and reached a career high ranking of No 19 in singles and, along with partner, Paul Annacone, was ranked as the No 1 doubles team in the world.

Van Rensburg won the Australian Open doubles title in 1985 and also enjoyed singles wins over Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Boris Becker and Pat Rafter during his career. He was also one of only two men to beat Pete Sampras in straight sets at Wimbledon.

After retiring from professional tennis, Van Rensburg transitioned into coaching - including assisting Michael Chang, Justin Gimelstob and fellow South Africans, David Nainkin and Grant Stafford.

South Africa's new captain is keen to leverage his extensive global experience to help develop the next generation of Davis Cup players and, as such, his role will extend beyond the week of Davis Cup ties.

"There is something inspiring and motivating when you can look back and say you were part of making an impact in someone's life. I am very excited to share the knowledge I have gained over all these years with the new generation of players. Also, to be able do that with two great friends of mine, Jeff (Coetzee) and Raven (Klaasen), will be special," Van Rensburg said in a statement.

Coetzee, TSA's director of tennis, welcome the new appointment.

"Christo brings a wealth of intellectual capital and has such great knowledge about the game. A key focus of the Davis Cup captain's role will be to work with our USA-based college players during the northern hemisphere summer - including touring with them in North America. Some of our future Davis Cup players will most likely come from this college system and so Christo will be a huge asset to help steer them in the right direction," Coetzee said.

Meanwhile, as part of the new Davis Cup structure, current ATP doubles star, Klaasen, will step into the new role of South Africa's Davis Cup vice-captain.

"From a succession planning perspective, we very much view Raven as a future Davis Cup captain and his appointment as vice-captain will allow him to continue his playing career at the highest level, whilst also gaining team leadership experience," Coetzee concluded.

Billed as the World Cup of tennis, the Davis Cup is the premier national team event in men's tennis.

Team South Africa are next in Davis Cup action against Venezuela in a World Group II tie, in the USA, in September 2021. The tie was scheduled for March 2021 but has been moved due to the ongoing Covid-19 global pandemic.

- Tennis SA

Source: News24

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