DE VOEST SETS NEW GOALS AFTER DAVIS CUP DEFEAT
Article by: Michael Vlismas
Rik de Voest is hoping to put behind him the disappointment of South Africa's Davis Cup defeat to Croatia and focus on breaking into the top 100 in the world before the end of the year.
The South African team failed in its bid to regain promotion to the prestigious World Group of men's team tennis when they were beaten 3-1 in the recent tie against Croatia at the North West University in Potchefstroom.
De Voest played a key part in the tie, having to take on Croatian number one Marin Cilic in the critical singles rubber following injuries to first Izak van der Merwe and then number one Kevin Anderson. Unfortunately, he lost the match 6-4 6-2 6-4.
"The team and I are obviously disappointed with the outcome. It was a pity the tie had to be decided with injuries as I believe we had a good competitive chance of winning this tie if the team had all been fully fit," said De Voest, who matriculated from Pretoria Boys High in 1997.
Van Der Merwe was the first to suffer when he injured his wrist and had to withdraw from the second singles on the Friday, and when he was already 6-0 6-0 down against Cilic. Anderson had already won the opening singles against Ivan Dodig 6-3 6-4 3-6 7-6. That saw the matches tied at 1-1 going into the Saturday doubles. But Anderson had to be left out of the doubles encounter with a hip flexor injury.
De Voest partnered Raven Klaasen against Cilic and Dodig, and they went down 6-2 6-4 3-6 6-1.
"The injuries to Kevin and Izak were unfortunate and the timing even worse. Kevin has been playing very well recently and he did well in the doubles in the last tie we played against the Netherlands. It was a blow to the team and our chances, but that is sport, and we dealt with the situation as best we could," said De Voest.
"We had suspected the score would be 1-1 after Friday's matches. Had everything gone according to plan, we were confident of our chances in the doubles, with Kevin and myself playing, and then the pressure and situation would have been different being up 2-1 on Sunday instead of playing from behind."
De Voest only found out on Sunday morning that he would face Cilic in the singles, with Anderson still not fit.
"Kevin had hoped to be ready to play on Sunday, but unfortunately had not fully recovered from his injury. I knew it was always going to be a tough challenge and would have preferred my chances playing the final match, but that was the situation and I tried my best to get the win. Unfortunately it did not happen."
De Voest is passionate about representing his country, and says playing in the World Group remains a goal for him.
"I have always enjoyed playing for South Africa and believe this brings out my best tennis when representing my country in team competitions. Reaching the World Group has been a team goal for a while now. I really do hope that next year we will be able to do so, as it is a major goal of mine before I end my career.
"Now, my goal for this year is to end it ranked inside the top 100 in the world." De Voest is currently 133 on the ATP rankings.
"I have some big events coming up in Asia, then I'm travelling to the US to end the year there."