ATP Tour

Career-best ranking for SA's Harris

 Lloyd Harris (Picture Credit: Matt Goins Photography)
Lloyd Harris (Picture Credit: Matt Goins Photography)

Cape Town - If 21-year-old South African prospect Lloyd Harris is to join the current dizzy ascent of youthful players headed by number three world-ranked Alexander Zverev on the international stage, Sunday's annexation of the Lexington Challenger title in Kentucky might come to be viewed as his personal crossing of a tennis Rubicon.

The 6-4, 6-3 final victory over Italy's Stefano Napolitano cemented the best tournament success of Harris' budding career and improved his world ranking by a hefty 47 places to what is comfortably a career-best 161.
Discovered and nurtured at Cape Town's High Performance Tennis Academy at the Sea Point Club in Bantry Bay by founder Anthony Harris - no relation - the younger Harris has already elevated his status to South Africa's top Davis Cup player as a result of Kevin Anderson's self-imposed, seven-year non-participation from world tennis's premier team event.

But despite Anthony Harris's unwavering faith in Lloyd Harris's ability to make it into the top tennis bracket, the younger Harris has found the challenging depth of talent on the international circuit a mountain to climb during the past 12 months, with breakthrough progress seemingly as difficult as scaling Everest.

Anthony Harris is hopeful his protege's success in Kentucky will prove the impetus and confidence-booster for continued progress, with the next challenging landmark a place among the world's top 100 players that has not been achieved by a South African since the emergence of the now 6th-ranked Anderson a decade ago.

"For players to secure a place at our academy in Cape Town," says the Zimbabwe-born Anthony Harris, "they need to show talent, determination, be hard working, have good hands and be athletic. I saw all these talents in Lloyd, whose height also gives him the advantage of a lethal serve.

"Now that he has made the breakthrough by winning a Challenger title, the next objectives will be to secure places in ATP World Group events on a regular basis - and qualifying for his first Grand Slam tournaments as well."

In this respect, Harris will in all probability be eyeing the coming US Open after earlier this year failing to make it past the first qualifying round in his previous Grand Slam attempts.

And if successful, will Kentucky, USA be viewed as the turnaround where it all started?

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