Great balance to Billie Jean King Cup team

Veterans joined by teen trio in Lithuania

Picture: 123RF/ MIKAEL DAMKIER
Picture: 123RF/ MIKAEL DAMKIER

SA’s Billie Jean King Cup captain, Roxanne Clarke, has announced a five-member national team that is a blend of experienced players and talented youngsters for the Billie Jean King Cup Europe/Africa Group III tournament in Vilnius, Lithuania, between June 15 and 19.

The SA squad will be spearheaded by three-time African Games medallist Chanel Simmonds. Katie Poluta will also add experience to the team.

They will be joined by teenagers Delien Kleinhans, Lara van der Merwe and Kelly Arends, who will all make their BJK Cup debuts.

“It has been quite a challenge to put a team together as the uncertainty with travel restrictions has made it difficult not just for us, but for all the nations competing,” said Clarke.

“We've all learnt very early on in this Covid-19 era that from these challenges also come opportunities for players to really show their resilience and even cause a few surprises.”

The team will arrive in Lithuania on June 12, and all squad members must produce negative Covid-19 tests before they can start preparing on the indoor hard-court surface.

A total of 23 nations will compete at the BJK Cup Europe/Africa Group III tournament, including Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Ghana, Ireland, Kenya, Malta, Montenegro, Namibia, Nigeria, Norway, Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe and more, with the first round being split into six groups.

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