Fit-again Lloyd Harris elated after marathon Australian Open win: 'Amazing to be back playing'

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Lloyd Harris in action at the Australian Open. (Photo by Mackenzie Sweetnam/Getty Images)
Lloyd Harris in action at the Australian Open. (Photo by Mackenzie Sweetnam/Getty Images)

In Melbourne

South Africa's Lloyd Harris made a memorable return to top-level tennis during his first-round win at the Australian Open on Monday.

After a six-month injury layoff, the 25-year-old Capetonian defeated Italy's Lorenzo Musetti in five gruelling sets, 6-4, 6-1, 6-7 (0/7), 2-6, 7-6 (10/4).

In 2022, Harris required two operations on his right wrist for a torn tendon in his triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) and a snapped tendon that runs across his wrist. These injuries resulted in him being out of tennis for six months.

Harris was over the moon about the feelings associated with his winning performance. 

"[It] feels amazing. It feels amazing to be back playing, enjoying the crowd, just enjoying the tennis. I had a blast out there. I was really just enjoying the moment, the crowd, the atmosphere. It was great," Harris told reporters at Melbourne Park.

Sport can result in a roller coaster of emotions. When injuries got the better of Harris, he had just experienced a great run of form. 

Then the lows associated with the six-month injury layoff and the highs again of an exciting win in the first Grand Slam of the year.

Harris described how the whole journey was a tough one for him.

"I think the hardest thing was to accept it mentally, you know. Physically there was a problem. I was limited. I was in a lot of pain and playing with a lot of pain.

"I knew what had to be done, and it was hard for myself to accept it."

Harris described how there were elements of transformation resulting from the whole experience.

"I went to a new page in the book. I actually felt happy. I was excited that we're going to get rid of that pain, and I could get back to playing and enjoying the game I love.

"I feel like I learned so much and could reflect so much... it just makes me better as a player and a person."

Harris will next play Hungary's world No 78 Marton Fucsovics, who took out Argentina's Federico Coria 4-6, 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-2.

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