New York - Former South African tennis star Wayne Ferreira believes young gun Lloyd Harris has a bright future.
The 21-year-old Capetonian played in his first Grand Slam main draw match at the US Open on Monday where he lost to experienced Frenchman Gilles Simon in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.
Harris, who reached the US Open main draw after winning three matches in qualifying, will nevertheless be pleased with his efforts in a season in which he has improved his ATP Tour ranking to a current career high 145th.
Ferreira, a former world No 6 who won 15 career ATP titles, was courtside at Harris’ match on Monday.
He said the youngster was not aggressive enough in his approach but predicted he would surge up the rankings in future.
Harris’ normally reliable serve let him down on Monday - he had a low first serve percentage of 39% in the first set, 61% in the second set and 53% in the third set.
“Lloyd has an impressive game that will get him deep into the world’s top 100. It’s a pity his serve was not on song today and that Lloyd didn’t play aggressive which, to have any chance against Gilles, you need to do,” Ferreira said via a press statement.
Harris agreed with Ferreira: “I tried to play aggressive, but I was missing a lot more than usual and battling to find my range.”
Harris added that world No 40 Simon proved a tough opponent. “I have enormous respect for Gilles, he is tough to play, he made it difficult, made a lot of balls and played the big points well when it mattered.”
Harris' coach, Eitan Adams from the Anthony Harris Tennis Academy in Cape Town, admitted that his charge was not fully recovered from a long couple of weeks of tennis.
“Without making any excuses for Lloyd, Lloyd has played a lot of tennis the past few weeks, he has played deep into each event and his body was really tired after his final qualifying match on Friday," Adams said.
“We had two days to recover and we did our very best to get Lloyd to the best possible shape for the Monday opening round. One could see on court he was tired, his serve as a result suffered and his footwork was not its usual which resulted in a high percentage of unforced errors giving Simon a clear advantage,” added Adams.
But Adams said a lot of positives emerged.
“Lloyd can be so proud of himself. As fit as Lloyd is we need to make him stronger which will help him raise the level of play when he needs to most.”
Harris said he was happy to have qualified for his first Grand Slam.
“I am proud of my efforts and it's very motivating to see the hard work paying off here in New York. I gave my best out there and wish I had more in the tank but taking everything into consideration I feel good and ready to make the improvements I need to make to take me to the next level.”