Taking the plunge pays off for Harris with Futures title on home soil
LLOYD HARRIS, one of the brightest prospects in South African tennis, tasted success at the third and final Futures tournament in Stellenbosch.
The 18-year-old from Cape Town got his revenge over Austria’s Lucas Meidler in an easy 6-2 6-1 victory at the Maties Tennis Club, the final lasting less than an hour.
In the women’s singles final, unseeded Gabriella Taylor of Britain fought back from a set down to oust top-seeded Naomi Totka of Hungary 4-6 6-2 6-1. The battle lasted almost two hours and was especially sweet for Taylor, being her first Futures win.
Harris never dropped a set on his way to claiming his fourth title of the year. Ranked inside the top 500 on the men’s world rankings, the teenager will have taken plenty out of what he’s been able to achieve since making his professional debut earlier in the year.
To have made two finals in consecutive weeks shows the right-hander may have what it takes to be a force over the coming years.
Getting the better of Meider at the second time of asking will have lifted the Bantry Bay teen’s spirits. He was beaten in straight sets 7-6 6-1 previously.
“It was a great few weeks of action for us locals against the foreign contingent in the three Futures played,” said Harris. “I served well and had good rhythm with my ground strokes off both flanks. And confidence played a big part as well.
“To have won four titles in my first year in the paid ranks was amazing. I took the big plunge in April to join the big league after careful deliberation with my support staff, who I must say have been key to my successes.
“My coach Anthony Harris installed in me the belief that I could make a career out of the game if I worked hard. I’ve been doing just that and much more.”
Harris bagged his first Futures title, and the $ 10 000 prize, in Mozambique before going all the way in Zimbabwe and Egypt. His latest triumph is his best one yet.
“Nothing beats playing on home soil with your family watching,” he said. “A bit more pressure comes with these factors and I’m just happy to have given those closest to me something to smile about.”
Harris will look to pick up more silverware when he travels to Nigeria next month to compete in two Futures tournaments. He will then take a break over the festive period, with his sights set on playing on the second-tier Challenger tour.
Doing well could earn him a shot at qualifying for ATP tournaments. “That’s the premier tier and I see myself playing there one day,” Harris added.