'Super stoked': Lloyd Harris, Raven Klaasen win Australian Open doubles opener

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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

Lloyd Harris and Raven Klaasen were victorious in their first round men's doubles match at the Australian Open on Thursday. 

The South African duo triumphed 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (11/9) over Pedro Martinez (Spain) and Thiago Monteiro (Brazil) in windy conditions on an outside court at Melbourne Park.

When Klaasen reached out to Harris to invite him to join him in doubles, Harris' initial reaction was being "very excited and super stoked".

It was their first tournament doubles pairing apart from two previous Davis Cup doubles ties.

During the match they were reminded of the Davis Cup when a rendition of "Shosholoza" was sung by some enthusiastic South African supporters.

"It was pretty cool and a lot of fun to hear this being sung and it resulted in a lot of smiles out there," Harris said.

Harris enjoyed having fellow countrymen supporting him during this match "as there were no spectators at all" during his second-round singles loss to Hungary's Marton Fucsovics on Wednesday.

"Last night's match was like a ghost town."

Harris added that he was "very happy to pull through such a tough match" alongside doubles specialist Klaasen.

When discussing their chances going forward in the Australian Open, Harris was upbeat.

"We can be dangerous. We have a chance against anyone and there is no one that has to dominate us."

It's such a great feeling for Harris to be back on the court.

"Two to three months ago I was playing with kids balls and feeling pain.

"It's been such a great beginning to the year and I couldn't have asked for a better start.

"I've been playing at a pretty good level and pain free."

It is worth noting that Harris played in a final of an ATP Challenger tournament on Saturday that used different balls to those used at the Australian Open.

He arrived in Melbourne on Sunday morning, had a 30 minute hit, and then went into the tournament on the first day on Monday winning his opening match in five gruelling sets.

When asked if they plan to play more doubles together going forward, Klaasen responded: "I'm happy jumping aboard the Lloyd Harris train."

Harris has a protected ranking for 2023 due to his six-month injury lay-off from a wrist injury. This enables him entry to nine tournaments of his choosing throughout the year.

Harris plans to play the Grand Slam events in 2023 and Klaasen is "hoping that they can continue their combination and I will be staying close to my phone around the entry dates."

Next up for the South African pair are the winner of the match between the Italian pairing of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini and the French duo of Sadio Doumbia and Fabien Reboul.

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