(September 19, 2021) FOREST HILLS, QUEENS, New York – South Africa completed a 4-0 sweep against Venezuela to advance to the World Group 1 Play-offs for 2022 on Sunday in Forest Hills Stadium at the historic West Side Tennis Club.
The South African doubles team doubles team of Lloyd Harris Raven Klaasen closed the door on team Venezuela, Dimitri Badra and Luis David Martinez 6-2, 6-4 to clinch the World Group 2 tie 3-0. The world No. 31 Harris was a late substitution for Ruan Roelofse, who was supposed to play doubles with Klaasen.
“I wouldn’t say it was always the plan, but I think once we went two-zero up we try to be as clinical as possible finishing the tie,” said Harris of the change. “Also for future ties, you, never know what the situation is. And I’ve been playing a little bit more doubles, so we haven’t played together before. So we thought it was a great opportunity to get a match and under our belt.”
“We’ve tried to play together once or twice and it didn’t work out, so it was a good opportunity for us to see how things click out there and I think it worked pretty well,” said Klaasen. “We were kind of always thinking about what’s the best chance was to win a match. So we take it day by day and we’ve discussed playing doubles before. So this opportunity worked out well.”
Roelofse won the lone dead rubber singles match played, beating Dimitri Badra 6-4, 7-6(5) to end the tie at 4-0 for South Africa.
The doubles team talked about why they play Davis Cup and why it’s important to them:
Klaasen: “I mean, for the most part during the season, you’re playing individual sports, so the environment and the history of this obvious competition is quite unique. And I spent time as a youngster watching our older guys play Davis Cup and they kind of set the bar for us. And then we were trying to kind of leave our own mark on Davis Cup for South Africa, because every time you play a tournament, you do represent South Africa, but this is nice where you actually put the green and gold on and to have a team around you is a fun aspect of tennis.”
Harris: “Yeah. I mean the same, I mean, it’s a great week where you get to spend some time with your fellow South Africans, get to train and compete together, have them on the side, supporting each other. And obviously, you have all of a sudden the whole of South Africa watching from back home. So it’s very special occasion. It’s, it’s unique from the rest of the tour, like Raven said.”
Harris has been in New York for about a month now. “I been here for a while. This is my fourth week. So I feel like I know New York a little bit better than I did ever before. But yeah, I definitely did get some spots, some breakfast spots and dinner spots that I really enjoyed. And other than that, I did go do some sightseeing and stuff with my girlfriend. That was a lot of fun. Yeah, no, it was also the last week we got to spend some time with the team for some guys that I don’t get to see every week. So yeah, it’s been a really good couple of weeks actually. I mean, if I take my result in the US Open, if I take us winning three-zero in Davis Cup, I mean, I’m very happy with how things turned out here.”
I’m very happy to see our boys preform,” said South Africa Captain and former pro Christos van Rensburg. captain. “Having a player like Lloyd on my team raised the whole level of my team because they have been practicing with them the whole week.”
SOUTH AFRICA defeated VENEZUELA 4-0
September 18-19, 2021 at Forest Hills Stadium, West Side Tennis Club – Forest Hills, Queens, New York, USA (hard – outdoor)
Lloyd Harris (RSA) d. Brandon Perez (VEN) 6-0 6-0
Philip Henning (RSA) d. Ricardo Rodriguez (VEN) 6-4 6-4
Lloyd Harris/Raven Klaasen (RSA) d. Dimitri Badra/Luis David Martinez (VEN) 6-2 6-4
Ruan Roelofse (RSA) d. Dimitri Badra (VEN) 6-4 7-6(5)
Philip Henning (RSA) v Brandon Perez (VEN) – not played
Karen Pestaina is the woman behind Tennis Panorama News. She freelances for various media outlets in and out of tennis and has worked for many a broadcast news entity in the New York City market. She witnessed her first live tennis match as a young child at Forest Hills Stadium when Guillermo Vilas upset Jimmy Connors to win the 1977 US Open.