(September 19, 2021) FOREST HILLS, WEST SIDE TENNIS CLUB, Queens, New York – After South Africa ended its 4-0 loss to Venezuela to reach the Davis Cup World Group I play-offs for 2022, captain and former South Africa pro Christo Van Rensburg had a press conference.
Van Rensburg, now 58, played on the professional circuit from 1983 onwards. He reached the world rank of 19th in singles in 1988. He won two singles titles on the men’s circuit and 20 doubles titles. . He defeated Jimmy Connors in the Orlando Event Finals in 1987. He retired from the professional circuit in 1995.
He spoke about what the Davis Cup means to him and came close to tears: âFor me it is very precious because of the South African apartheid system, we could never play the Olympics, we could never play the Davis Cup. And then when apartheid was gone and unity was formed, I was able to play a Davis Cup game, but it was ultimately Indonesia in the lowest possible group. So it was very special for me to play the first point, to win the first point, to win the first game, to win the first set and the game after isolation.
âAnd you know, my daughter when I was playing was obviously not born, until I retired. And she was there (at the Davis Cup draw) all week. I feel like she’s with me and with the team, it was really special for me to see that she could see what my life was like. Mix with the younger ones. So I felt like family and my daughter, who is 23 years oldâ¦. It was so special for me to share this with her. She is going to leave now and it will be sad. She works and lives in another city. ”
A representative of the Venezuelan Tennis Federation then presented van Rensburg with a token of recognition during the post-match press conference.
âThis is going to be very special,â the captain said as his voice began to crack and his eyes began to fill with tears. âI told Lloyd (Harris) his 6-0, 6-0 win in our opener is something you will cherish for the rest of your life. You get to be with the best.
“To start withâ¦ they can’t take it away from youâ¦ I will always remember that first game.” I did it with you (Harris). It was nice, it was fun. It’s incredible. I never knew him before coming here. But it was special for me to have a game like that at the start.
âWe are very fortunate to have someone like Lloyd on our team. He’s a great team player. He’s really good with guys. It is priceless.
Earlier today, at their press conference following their doubles victory to win the draw, Lloyd Harris and Raven Klassen were also asked what the Davis Cup meant to them.
Klaasen: âI mean, most of the time during the season you play individual sports, so the environment and history of this obvious competition is quite unique. And I spent time when I was young watching our older guys play Davis Cup and they kind of set the bar for us. And then we tried to leave our own mark on the Davis Cup for South Africa, because every time you play a tournament you represent South Africa, but it’s good to put the green and the Having a team around it is a fun part of tennis.
Harris: âYeah. I mean the same, I mean, it’s a great week where you can spend time with your fellow South Africans, train and compete together, have them by your side, support each other. And of course, all of a sudden you have all of South Africa watching you from home. So this is a very special occasion. It’s, it’s unique compared to the rest of the tour, as Raven said.
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