South Africa's number one tennis player Wesley Moodie will not be in the starting line-up for their crucial Europe/Africa Zone Group II Davis Cup tie against Latvia from July 21 to 23.
The tie will take place in Jurmala, Latvia, and will be played outdoors on red clay. The winner of this tie will remain in Group II next year, the loser will be relegated to Europe/Africa Zone Group III in 2007.
The tie will be played during the American hard court season, the main build-up events to the US Open at the end of August, and Moodie has opted to play those tournaments.
So in his absence, Rik de Voest, ranked 137 in singles, will lead the team and joining him will be youngsters Kevin Anderson, Izak van der Merwe and Fritz Wolmarans while the experience will come from veteran doubles specialist Chris Haggard.
John-Laffnie de Jager will once again captain the team.
Anderson was a member of the squad that played in Morocco while Van der Merwe participated in the tie earlier this year against Georgia.
Wolmarans, who is now being coached by former SA top 30 player Marcos Ondruska, was included as a non-playing member of the squad that played against Slovakia at the Wanderers in Johannesburg in 2004.
Haggard has played in three Davis Cup ties and has built up a 3-1 win/loss record. His only defeat came in the tie against Slovakia at the Wanderers when Jeff Coetzee unfortunately was injured in the opening set. Despite Coetzee virtually hobbling around the court, the pair still managed to put up a superb display before losing to Dominik Hrbaty and Michal Mertinak 5-7 5-7 6-7(5-7).
Only six names appear on the ATP Tour rankings for Latvia with Ernest Gulbis, at 278, being their highest ranked player.
The other players with rankings are Andis Juska (478), Deniss Pavlovs (720), Adrians Zguns (1276), Janis Skroderis and Karlis Lejnieks, who with just one point, are ranked joint 1529.
A shame Wes will not be playing - but I guess it's not beneficial for him to do so. Hopefully the other boys can keep SA in Group II for 2007. A loss would mean SA relegated to Group III - basically the black hole, removed from the face of tennis!