South Africa’s No.: 1 tennis player, Lloyd Harris, who had a dream run in last week’s US Open at Flushing Meadows advancing to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time, will lead Team South Africa in their Davis Cup tie against Venezuela this weekend. The World Group 2 tie will take place at the historic West Side Tennis Club, in Forrest Hills in New York, the previous home of the US Open.
Lloyd Harris will headline the Davis Cup squad selected for this tie against the South Americans, joining veterans Ruan Roelofse, doubles specialist Raven Klaasen as well as Phillip Henning and Sipho Montsi, who are both based in the United States.
The South African, who was eventually defeated by Olympic Champion, Germany’s Alexander Zverev, in straight sets in the last eight, believes that his stellar season started this March when he advanced to the final of his first ATP 500 event in Dubai.
“That run in Dubai really kickstarted something. Since then, I have been playing with a lot more confidence. I got a lot more belief on the tour. When you go through a tournament like that, a final of a 500 event, you have to believe that you belong with the big boys. It’s been really solid from there. I have been managing niggles and injuries on the side still managing to play some good tennis. I am feeling healthy and fit and physically strong even after the QF match,” says Lloyd Harris.
Harris has risen to a career best 31st in the world rankings, having advanced to the quarterfinal of a Grand Slam for the first time at Flushing Meadows.
He has also consolidated his place as the top-ranked South African tennis player on Tour.
The 24-year-old says that whether it’s a Davis Cup tie or a Grand Slam, he is proud to fly the flag.
“There is always expectation when you play for your country or you play for the tour you always have that South African flag next to your name. So, I am always playing for my country representing South Africa in Davis Cup or playing in the quarters of the US Open. I know I have all the South Africans tuning in, supporting. It feels the same to me. It’s a privilege and an honour to be the highest ranked player in the country. It’s a phenomenal achievement in itself.”
The iconic West Side Tennis Club was the former venue of the US Open before it moved to Flushing Meadows and will host Davis Cup action for the first time since 1959.
“It’s a very unique situation. I have never been part of a neutral tie. It’s amazing that we can be out here in New York just after my run. I can go to a historical club and play a Davis Cup tie for SA. Its’ different. We always played in SA at smaller venues it also hasn’t been against big countries maybe but I am looking forward to the stadium with so much history” Lloyd Harris explains.
The tie gets under way on Saturday.