Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
18 Mar 2014
6:00 am

Chani returns to SA Fed Cup squad

Wesley Botton

Newly appointed Fed Cup captain Earl Grainger said yesterday that Scheepers, ranked 78th in the world, had confirmed her availability for the international team competition for the first time in nine years.

Chanelle Scheepers. Image courtesy of Facebook

“Chani assured me that she is totally committed to South African tennis,” Grainger said in a statement.

“We spoke about her not being available for the Fed Cup in the past and we discussed future tournaments.

“Chani wants to help us in every possible way and I was delighted that she agreed to be part of the Fed Cup squad.”

Scheepers played 15 Fed Cup ties for South Africa over a three-year period after making her debut against Liechtenstein in April 2002.

She has made herself unavailable, however, since the country’s 2-1 win over Sweden in a Euro-Africa Group I tournament in Antalya, Turkey in April 2005.

Grainger said Scheepers would spearhead a 15-member SA squad for the 2014 season.

Another member of the squad, veteran doubles specialist Natalie Grandin, would act as a consultant to Grainger, along with coach Allan Karam of Pretoria, as part of the new structure.

While South Africa narrowly escaped relegation to the Euro-Africa Group III division last year, Grandin believed they had the ability to climb to Group I, with the new squad scheduled to hold four training camps this year.

“I think this is a great idea and I am sure that with all my years of experience playing in the Fed Cup team, and on the pro tour, I will be able to help South Africa move up to Group I,” she said.

“The team definitely has enough talent to move up and be a strong contender in years to come.”

Grainger confirmed he would announce his team on Friday to play in the Euro-Africa Group II tournament in Lithuania next month.