Teen picked for crucial SA Davis Cup tie

Philip Henning of South Africa competes in his first round match against Tristan Boyer of the United States during the Australian Open 2017 Junior Championships at Melbourne Park.
Philip Henning of South Africa competes in his first round match against Tristan Boyer of the United States during the Australian Open 2017 Junior Championships at Melbourne Park.
Image: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

South Africa’s Davis Cup captain Marcos Ondruska has named teen debutant Philip Henning in his team of five for the must-win tie against Portugal in Lisbon next weekend.

Henning (17)‚ who is competing at the Youth Olympics in Argentina‚ lines up alongside rising singles star Lloyd Harris and doubles veteran Raven Klaasen.

The Lisbon tie‚ a battle to stay in Europe/Africa Group I‚ will take place on Portugal’s preferred surface‚ clay.

Ondruska‚ who is expecting Portugal to name a full-strength team‚ which would include Joao Sousa‚ who is 43rd in the world‚ said this was the closest world No8 Kevin Anderson had come to playing Davis Cup during his tenure.

He said if it had been on any surface other than clay‚ Anderson‚ who is trying to secure his spot in the ATP Finals next month‚ would have competed.

At 113 in the world Harris is SA’s top-ranked player in the team with Nik Scholtz‚ returning from a back injury‚ and doubles specialist Ruan Roelofse making up the five.

Klaasen and Roelofse are unbeaten in Davis Cup competition.

Ondruska said he was confident his players could perform on clay‚ adding there was a good chance that Henning would get match time.

Portugal name their team later on Wednesday.

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