Friday , February 23 2024

Việt Nam to challenge South Africa in Davis Cup group competition

Tennis

Lý Hoàng Nam carries Việt Nam’s heavy task to beat South Africa at the Davis Cup 2024, Asia/Oceania Zone Group II playoff, on February 2-3 in Bắc Ninh Province. Photos courtesy of VTF

BẮC NINH  Việt Nam will have the chance to play in the Davis Cup 2024, Asia/Oceania Zone Group II for the first time, if they can beat South Africa in the playoff match on February 2-3 in Bắc Ninh Province.

The team were close to their dream last year, but they unexpectedly lost 2-3 to Indonesia, who were lower than them in the world ranking.

This time, their task is more challenging as they will face the world No 58 seed, placed 12 steps higher than them in world rankings.

According to the Việt Nam Tennis Federation, the host side gathered the best players, including top national player Lý Hoàng Nam, world No 557.

The first Vietnamese Grand Slam participant and the former Wimbledon boys double winner is expected to help Việt Nam in this situation.

Vietnamese players pose for photos after winning over Jordan last July. 

Other members are Vũ Hà Minh Đức (No 1,929), Trịnh Linh Giang, Nguyễn Văn Phương, and Phạm Minh Tuấn under captain Trương Quốc Bảo.

“Talking about South African tennis, people will think about famous Kevin Anderson who placed No 5 in the world and Lloyd Harris who is currently No 168. Neither of them are playing in this play-off, but they still have strong players such as Kris Van Wyk, No 416, and Philip Henning, No 748, so they are considered stronger than Việt Nam,” Bảo told reporters.

“However, we still have the chance to make history because we will play on home ground with strong local support. In addition, our strongest players will compete. Among them, Nam shoulders a heavy responsibility as he can play well individually and in pair.

“I believe that with high determination and at their peak performance, Việt Nam can pull off a surprise,” Bảo said.

Nam, who used to rank No 231, also expressed his strong will, saying he would try his best to win any match that he would be assigned.

“My teammates and I will do all we can to push Việt Nam to Group II for the first time,” Nam said.

South African coach and players in training at the Hanaka Paris Ocean Park Tennis Courts. 

Captain Christo Van Rensburg also confirmed Nam as the key for Việt Nam, and said his team must keep eyes on him.

“I know your No 1 player (Lý Hoàng Nam). He is a good player who used to be in top 300 in the ATP ranking, although he is in top 500 now,” Van Rensburg said.

“We understand that it will be a tough match as he will be strongly supported by local fans. He is also a good doubles player, but doubles is also our strong point. The upcoming match would be very competitive one,” said the 61-year-old.

Players will take part in a five-match (four singles and one doubles) format event at the Hanaka Paris Ocean Park Tennis Courts, the best tennis complex in Việt Nam.

A team which won three matches will be the winner and will jump to the World Group II where they will face the loser of the World Group I’s playoff match in September. Meanwhile the loser will be dropped to Group III competition in July and August.

Hanaka Courts will open for free both days for supporters to cheer their favourite players. VNS

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