NEW YORK, September 15, 2021 (Tennis South Africa Press Release)
On a superb run this season, Lloyd Harris will put his lofty personal ambitions aside this week when he leads the national team in the Davis Cup by Rakuten World Group II tie between South Africa and Venezuela at West Side Tennis Club in New York on Saturday and Sunday.
After reaching the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time at the US Open, Harris climbed 15 positions to No 31 in the ATP rankings this week.
The 24-year-old player was eager to carry his impressive form into this weekend’s Davis Cup clash after being included in a five-man squad named by new SA captain Christo van Rensburg last week.
“I think the big thing for me is that I’ve been consistent this year and I’m trying to bring the same level of intensity into every match,” said Harris, who will turn out in his 10th Davis Cup tie for South Africa since 2016.
“During the Covid-19 lockdown I was able to work more on my physical strength and fitness, which has also helped the mental aspect of my game.
“So I’ve played some tough matches over the last couple of weeks but I’m feeling in great shape and I’m ready to go for more.”
While South Africa will be led by Harris and 38-year-old doubles specialist Raven Klaasen, the world No 24, none of the players in Venezuela’s team are currently ranked among the top 100 in the world.
Despite carrying the ‘favourites’ tag into the clash, however, Harris insists the SA team will not take their opponents lightly as they aim to keep their promotion hopes alive in search of a place in Group I.
“I’ve done a bit of research and I’ve seen the guys in their team. They have a lot of veteran players and some younger players, and it’s a solid all-round team which has done well for them in recent years,” Harris said.
“The have no big-name players in terms of world rankings, but in the Davis Cup you’re playing for your country and there’s so much more at stake. There are different dynamics playing as part of a team, so it’s going to be a challenging and interesting tie, and I’m looking forward to it.”
This weekend’s Davis Cup by Rakuten Group II tie will be played at a hard-court neutral venue due to security concerns in Venezuela.