CAPE TOWN – While the Covid-19 pandemic virtually introduced the world to a standstill in lots of respects, South African tennis star Lloyd Harris says the time without work court docket allowed him to work his bodily energy, which he feels is the important thing to his success this year.
The 24-year-old from Cape Town capped a exceptional northern summer time of tennis by going all the best way to the quarter-finals of the US Open final week.
He went down in three units to German Alexander Zverev 7-6(8/6) 6-3 6-4 on the Arthur Ashe Stadium, however has pulled off a lot of excellent victories within the US season.
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The spotlight for Harris was arguably the 6-4 1-6 6-4 win over Spanish legend Rafael Nadal on the Washington Open earlier this year, whereas he additionally knocked over Austrian star Dominic Thiem 6-3 6-4 in Dubai.
He topped it off with a scorching efficiency within the third spherical of the US Open, the place he beat Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-4 6-4 6-4.
“Davis Cup has always been a part of my schedule – I don’t think I’ve missed a tie in the last four years or so. Very important to represent your country and get out and play. We’ve done some great results over the last couple of years,” Harris mentioned from New York throughout a press convention with South African media on Tuesday.
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“With my game, with all these Covid restrictions and lockdowns, I actually got a lot of time to work a little bit more on my body – the physical aspect, the fitness aspect – and I think that has helped me a lot in my game.
“Physically, it allows you also to be mentally a lot stronger. That has helped me to continuously play at a higher level, not having to worry so much about the conditioning aspect.
“And also, when you look at a run to the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam, it’s a pretty physical task – especially also playing doubles. It was day-in, day-out, playing five-set, four-set, three-set matches. It was a lot of tennis being played, but I still felt in great shape and still ready to go for more.
He hopes the team can progress to the World Group one day, but also has his sights set on bigger goals in his own career. Russian Daniil Medvedev’s US Open triumph over Novak Djokovic last Sunday – which prevented the Serbian from clinching a calendar Grand Slam – has given Harris even more belief that the “new generation” can rule the tennis world going ahead.
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“Dubai (beating Thiem) really kick-started something because since then, I’ve been playing with a lot more confidence, a lot more belief on the tour,” he mentioned.
“When you go to a match like that and make the ultimate, you may have to type of consider that you simply belong with the massive boys. It has been actually strong from there, and managing some niggles on the aspect, and nonetheless enjoying some good tennis.
“It’s been coming for some time. It’s simply so laborious for the youthful technology to type of crack into these Grand Slams.
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“Novak’s simply actually been unstoppable till the final match. I simply assume he got here up in opposition to an especially troublesome opponent on the day. Daniil has performed some actually good tennis all through the entire summer time, and that simply type of displays on this newer technology – Zverev successful the gold medal, Medvedev gained a Masters (occasion) in the summertime.
“So, this younger technology is actually coming via, and if you happen to take a look at the top-50 now, there are extra younger guys there than within the final 20 years.
“These older guys that I grew up with, it’s unimaginable how we’re all inside one year of one another: we’re all between 96 and 98 virtually, which is fairly unimaginable.