South Africa suffered a disappointing Fed Cup relegation after they suffered their third consecutive group stage defeat in Luxembourg.
The team lost their third and final match going down 2-0 to Portugal slipping from the Euro/Africa Zone Group II to the lowest tier of the Fed Cup competition.
They suffered a 2-1 defeat to host country Luxembourg and Israel this week before their loss to Portugal.
Debutant Zani Barnard lost 6-4 7-5 to Ana Filipa Santos in the first singles match before
South Africa’s non-playing captain Rene Plant said they would be taking stock and hopefully return to the higher tier in 2020.
“It has been a tough and challenging week for the team. They have certainly given their best on and off the court and as a coach, that is all that I could ask for.
“We were best prepared as we possibly could be but the result did not go our way. We will continue to work hard to develop women’s tennis back in South Africa, and hopefully, try to get back in Group II in the not too distant future.”Rene Plant
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.
Despite this, the young trio of Barnard, Imaan Hassim and Sinazo Solani have gained experience in the Fed Cup tournament and would be looking to make a contribution to earn promotion again next year.
“Unfortunately, the competition was extremely tough. Hopefully, the three young caps have learnt from this experience and will continue to improve and work on their game,” Plant said.