Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
21 Mar 2014
12:40 pm

De Voest is a proud man

Wesley Botton

Looking back on a 15-year professional career, veteran tennis player Rik de Voest identifies his lengthy Davis Cup run among his greatest accomplishments.

FILE PICTURE: Rik de Voest of South Africa in action against Benjamin Balleret of Monaco during the Reverse singles of the Davis Cup tie between South Africa and Monaco at the Irene Country Club on February 02, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Picture: Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images.

De Voest is expected to receive a commitment award next month for making his 20th appearance in Euro-Africa Group I and II ties, as well as World Group play-offs, since his debut in the international team competition against Hungary in Pretoria in July 2002.

He also played five ties in the Group III round-robin tournament in Tunisia in 2007, but those appearances are not considered.

“This award is one of the things that have kept me going from the first day I represented South Africa,” De Voest, 33, said this week.

“After my debut match I was interviewed by SuperSport, and it was quite an honour for me. Percy Montgomery was my favourite rugby player at the time, and I felt in a way I could be compared to him by representing my country.

“It’s a thing of pride that I’ve been able to play Davis Cup for such a long time, and this was one of the things I still wanted to accomplish.”

De Voest is the top-ranked singles player in the squad for next month’s Group II tie against Lithuania at Irene Country Club, where he honed his skills as a teenager.

His preparations have been disrupted due to the birth of his first child, but with a wealth of experience under his belt De Voest is confident he will be ready to lead the SA team against Lithuania.

“They’ve got an academy where I live in Vancouver, so I’ve been able to get involved there.

“It’s not the same level as the tour, but I’ve been practicing with some of the best junior players in Canada, which has been good preparation for me.”