ATP Tour

Federer has high hopes for SA's Harris

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Roger Federer courtside at Cape Town Stadium (Picture: Herman Mostert)
Roger Federer courtside at Cape Town Stadium (Picture: Herman Mostert)

Cape Town - Roger Federer is impressed by what he's seen from rising South African tennis star Lloyd Harris.

WATCH | Kolisi presents Federer with Springbok jersey at Match in Africa

Federer was in the Mother City on Friday where he played Rafael Nadal in their Match in Africa exhibition at Cape Town Stadium.

On Thursday, the Swiss ace practiced with 22-year-old Harris in the stadium as he got used to the make-shift court erected in the middle of the field.

"It was very kind that Lloyd came out, he's a local hero here in Cape Town. I still love that he comes back and trains here. He's not left this place yet, as it's far away from all the other tournaments... it's not easy," Federer told Sport24 courtside on Friday.

Federer and Harris squared off in the Wimbledon first round last year, where the young South African surprised by taking the first set 6-3, before Federer came roaring back to take the next three 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.

Harris recently made his first ATP final at the 250-level event in Adelaide where he lost to Russia's Andrey Rublev.

He is currently ranked 85th on the ATP rankings but has shown steady progress over the last year.

The Capetonian qualified for the main draws of all four Grand Slam events in 2019 and also made the cut at this year's Australian Open.

"Number one, I think he's a great guy, that's always key. He's got great character, a wonderful family as well," Federer added.

"We had a good hit yesterday. I think a lot of his game to be honest, I had a tough one against him at Wimbledon last year.

"He started very strong, making the final in Adelaide out of the qualifiers. There's much to look forward to in Lloyd and I think he's a great player for you guys to have here in South Africa."

Later on Friday, Federer defeated Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in front of a 51 954-strong crowd which broke the world record attendance for a tennis match.

The previous record was set in November 2019 when Federer defeated Germany's Alexander Zverev in Mexico City in front of 42 517 fans.

Organisers also announced that the Match in Africa raised $3.5-million for the Roger Federer Foundation, which supports educational and athletic programmes for children in Africa.

"To have 51 954 people in attendance at a tennis match, I never thought I'd be a part of something like that. It's not something you dream about," Federer said at the post-match press conference.

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