Lloyd Harris set for a return to tennis in Portugal

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Lloyd Harris. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Lloyd Harris. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

South African tennis ace Lloyd Harris plans to return to action at the Estoril Open in Portugal next week where he will bid to reclaim a place in the ATP's Top 50.

Harris, who has been sidelined by injury in recent weeks, will use the tournament as preparation for the French Open Grand Slam event which begins at Roland Garros in Paris at the end of May.

Harris' injury came at the most inappropriate time while he was playing the best tennis of his career and achieving the best results that elevated his ranking from 81st to 50th in a matter of three months, with victories over players of the calibre world number four Dominic Thiem, former world number four, Kei Nishikori, multiple Grand Slam winner, Stan Wawrinka, and talented, up-and-coming top tenner, Denis Shapovalov.

It was certainly a bone of contention when a badly bruised wrist caused the top South African tennis player to miss out on the Monte Carlo and Barcelona ATP tournaments and in the process surrender the top 50 world ranking position he had only acquired for the first time a couple of weeks earlier.

He is currently ranked 53rd on the ATP rankings.

However, the good news for the lanky, Cape Town-born, 24-year-old big server is that after extensive specialist treatment in the Middle East he has been passed it to play in the Portuguese ATP 250-level event next week.

Furthermore, the news from Harris' camp is that without any further complications this will be followed by tournament appearances in Madrid, Rome and Lyon.

"But at one point," he says "the diagnosis suggested it would be much longer for a complete recovery and only the expert medical treatment I received has speeded the healing process. I'm grateful for that and hopefully I'll be able to continue where I left off - starting at Estoril."

Ironically, while one-time world number five, Kevin Anderson, whom Harris has replaced as South Africa's number one, was also making encouraging progress after his lengthy list of injuries and is also looking to the Estoril Open to return to tournament competition, his position provides a less optimistic picture.

Because Anderson's world ranking had dipped to 107th after recurring breaks from tournament action, he might have to go through the qualifying round process at Estoril to make it to the opening round proper - and even if he manages to negotiate this additional playing highway, it will be without the protection of a seeding in the main draw.

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