Top-ranked South African female tennis player Chanel Simmonds should once again be the country’s ace during the upcoming Fed Cup tournament in Luxembourg from February 6 to 9.
Simmonds played a crucial role in helping South African earning promotion to the Fed Cup’s Euro/Africa Zone Group II last year when they beat Malta 2-1 in 2018.
The women’s side had been in serious decline over the last few years, suffering relegation two seasons in a row as they tumbled from the Europe/Africa Zone Group 1 division in 2016 to the lowest tier in 2018.
With eight Fed Cup tournaments behind her name, Simmonds is expected to provide the backbone in the team’s pursuit of cementing their position in Group II.
“I have been playing professionally for the last 10 years and see myself as the leader of the group,” Simmonds said.
“I like bouncing ideas off of other players but it’s also important for me to share my knowledge and experience with them for the benefit of their development and for us as a team.”
South Africa will know their opponents on February 5 at the official draw of the tournament that will consist of two pools of four teams during the round-robin phase.
The winner of each pool will play off against the number two team in the other pool to determine which two nations will advance to the Europe Africa Zone Group I in 2020.
The two losing nations in the relegation-playoffs will drop down to the Europe/Africa Zone Group III in 2020.
“We want to carry on with the momentum gained last year (being promoted from the Europe/Africa Group III stage),” Simmonds said.
“We are playing stronger countries this time around but I am confident the team will put in a good performance.
“We arrive five days before the start of the tournament in Luxembourg, so that will give us enough time to prepare as a team.”