South African tennis star Lloyd Harris says US Open heroism is better than victory over Nadal
Lloyd Harris. (Photo by Al Bello / Getty Images)
- South African tennis star Lloyd Harris has said reaching the US Open quarter-finals is his biggest career achievement to date.
- He believes the feat carries more weight than his victory last month against Spain legend Rafael Nadal.
- Harris is still in New York where he will represent South Africa in a Davis Cup World Group II match against Venezuela this weekend.
South African tennis star Lloyd harris says reaching the US Open quarter-finals is the highlight of his career so far – even more than beating the Grand Slam champion 20 times Rafael Nadal.
Harris rose to career-high 31st in the ATP rankings after reaching the last eight in the last Grand Slam of the year in New York City.
The 24-year-old Capetonian has risen steadily in the rankings in recent years, but has taken his game to new heights in 2021.
In March, Harris reached his first ATP 500 level final at the Dubai Tennis Championships, scoring victories over 2020 US Open winner Dominic Thiem, Japanese star Kei Nishikori and Canadian upstart Denis Shapovalov.
Harris also upset three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka at the Qatar Open, but his most notable scalp of the year was beating Nadal in Washington DC last month.
At the US Open, Harris reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final with wins over Karen Khachanov, 25th seed, Ernesto Escobedo, the American wild card, Shapovalov, seventh and Reilly Opelka, 22nd, ahead of s’ bow to fourth seed Alexander Zverev.
While the win over Nadal was undoubtedly special, Harris believes his US Open result – which saw him win over R6million – will count for more.
“Obviously, when you beat a legendary player like Rafa, who has achieved all he’s achieved in his career, it’s probably one of my most memorable games I’ve ever had,” said Harris said at an online news conference from New York on Monday.
“Beating a 20-time Grand Slam champion was extremely special, but if you look at a tournament as a whole it’s definitely a much more important thing to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal. coverage, a lot more people watching and listening, bigger stadiums …
“So I would say the US Open was definitely the best result as a tournament. There were several good wins for me at the US Open… beating Khachanov, Opelka and Shapo (Shapovalov) in a Grand Slam… this is not the case, an easy task in itself.
” I came out [in the quarter-finals] at the end, but it was still one of my best tournaments, if not my best, so if I had to put this all into perspective I should go with it [the] The US Open is probably my best result yet. “
Looking back on his season so far, Harris said the race to the final in Dubai – where he lost to Russian Aslan Karatsev – had “started” something.
“Since then I have been playing with a lot more confidence, I have a lot more confidence in the tour. When you come into a tournament like this, beat some big names and do a 500. [level] Finally, I think you kind of have to believe that you belong to the big boys and play that kind of tennis.
“So it was really solid from there… I struggled a bit with issues and injuries, but I managed to deal with it on the side and still manage to play good tennis at the side. – beyond that.
“Right now I’m feeling healthy and fit … the US Open was a good sign for me [that] I still feel physically strong and fit. I really gained a lot of confidence from that race in Dubai and just tried to factor that in for the rest of the year and it went pretty well. “
Harris is still in New York City where he will represent South Africa in a Davis Cup World Group II match against Venezuela at the West Side Tennis Club this weekend.
The South African squad also includes Davis Cup veterans Ruan Roelofse and doubles specialist Raven Klaasen.
They will be joined by young gunslingers Philip Henning and Sipho Montsi, both based in the United States where they compete on the college circuit.
Former professional player Christo van Rensburg is the South African Davis Cup captain.