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De Voest's last stand
02 April 2014 at 10:25 by Trevor Cramer - South African stalwart Davis Cup player, Rik De Voest announced at the Irene Country Club on Tuesday that the upcoming Davis Cup tie against Lithuania would be his last for his country.

At the pre-draw media conference held at the club, 33 year old De Voest confirmed that after 15 years as a professional, the tie to be played this weekend from 4-6 April would be his last outing in the green and gold.


“This is my 20th Davis Cup tie I will be playing for my country and its fitting here at my home club in Irene, I play that tie and call time on my Davis Cup duties. It’s been a memorable journey and I am very proud in what I have achieved” said De Voest.


De Voest also confirmed that he would retire from professional tennis in the next few months but had to meet some on court obligations before hanging up his racket.


“My wife Carolyn (a Canadian) has just given birth to our first child Morgan and my life has changed. I am now a family man with new goals, objectives and priorities and my last tournament will be in my new home city, Vancouver, Canada” said De Voest.


The International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced that they would be presenting De Voest with a special Davis Cup award this coming Saturday (5 April) of the tie commemorating his 20th tie. De Voest will be one of only four South African players to have played 20 or more ties for their country. The other South African players to have achieved this are Cliff Drysdale, Frew McMillan and Wayne Ferreira.


Meanwhile South African captain John-Laffnie de Jager said that his team was well prepared for the tie. De Jager could not confirm who would be his second singles player. “I have told all the boys that the second spot is up for grabs and whoever performs best this week will be able to fill that spot” said De Jager.


De Jager has until Thursday to name his final four players out of his five man squad. De Voest and doubles specialist Raven Klaasen are given choices but the remaining two spots will be filled by Dean O’Brien, Jean Andersen or Ruan Roelofse.


Lithuanian captain Rimvydas Mugevicius said his team were adapting well to the altitude and were hitting the ball better each day.


Ricardos Berankis the top ranked Lithuanian player said that he was pleasantly surprised at how well the court was playing and he was feeling quite confident after two days of practice. “This tie is going to be a tough one” said Berankis. “South Africa have a good team with lots of experience. I don’t know the players that well but we have a few more days to watch them in action and strategise accordingly.”


With only four players at his disposal, the Lithuanian captain said that he had very little choice but would only decide Thursday who to play in the doubles. He is expected to play Berankis and his second highest ranked player in the Laurynas Grigelis singles but he could be forced to use both Berankis and Grigelis in the doubles as well as his third and fourth players Lukas Mugevicius and Mantas Bugailiskis are “young with very little Davis Cup experience.”


The official draw for the tie will take place on Thursday morning at the Irene Dairy Farm at 10h00 where both captains will name their four players and their singles line up and doubles teams. International acclaimed tennis referee and umpire Gerry Armstrong of England will officiate the draw.


Tickets will cost R40.00 and all tickets will be for unreserved seating. There will be safe and secure parking for R20.00 per vehicle available at the Irene Country Club throughout the Tie.

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