ECKENTAL, November 2, 2019
Lloyd Harris is one of the four semi-finalists at Challenger Eckental. The 22-year-old South African has played his best season of his young career and appeared in the main draw of all four Grand Slam tournaments.
Asked about the highlights of his season, Harris replied: “It was a good season with ups and downs. Good but also tough months. The majors were probably the highlights, making the second round at the French. Playing Roger (Federer) at Wimbledon was something special. I played well and had some chances there. I also made my first semi-final on the ATP Tour at Chengdu. That was another big one for me. These were kind of the key weeks throughout the year.”
Favourite Grand Slam: Australian Open
In particular, Harris enjoyed his stay in Melbourne. “I felt like at home. It was very comfortable there. If I have to pick one Grand Slam – after playing only one year in the main draw – it will be the Australian Open.”
Harris will also open the new season down under, representing South Africa at the inaugural ATP Cup.
“There will be a lot of big names and some fierce competition. Team events are always exciting. It’s going to be a great format and a really fun event. It’s an exciting way to start the year ahead of the Australian Open.”
— Florian Heer (@Florian_Heer) November 1, 2019
Tennis in South Africa on the upswing
When it comes to tennis in South Africa, the World No. 103 hopes that the sport will play a bigger role in the nearer future.
“I feel like tennis is going to be revived slowly,” said Harris. “It is the sport that has struggled a little bid in recent years. We had an ATP event as well as Challengers and Futures. We had a good circuit back then and it also showed in results with a lot of good players, more than we have now. But I think slowly it’s starting to come back and more effort will be put in developing players in South Africa. Kevin Anderson, Raven Klaasen and I try to be role models showing the younger ones the pathway, how to become a professional tennis player from South Africa. We are looking for some new blood to follow our footsteps for sure and as the sports develops, we will definitely get some tournaments back in the nearer future.”
And what are his personal goals for 2020?
“2019 was kind of my first year on the ATP Tour, playing all of the Grand Slams and mostly ATP events. This was the year to get used to the level and to see what it is all about and to get my foot in the door. I have started to really find my game over the last couple of months and I started to play a lot better. I am excited for next year. I think that I will feel a lot more comfortable going back to all the Slams and bigger events. I take a lot of confidence from the end of this year into the next season. I will have a good off season to be strong for 2020, because it will be an important year for my career.”