Home Sport Even after US Open defeat, Harris rockets up rankings

Even after US Open defeat, Harris rockets up rankings

South Africa’s Lloyd Harris reacts after winning against US player Reilly Opelka during their 2021 US Open Tennis tournament men’s singles fourth round match. Picture: Kena Betancur, AFP

By the time Lloyd Harris walked off the centre court after his US Open quarter-final loss on Wednesday, his singles exploits were worth R9m.

CAPE TOWN – After four stirring victories at Flushing Meadows, South African Lloyd Harris met his match in Alexander Zverev, a straight-sets 7-6 6-3 6-4 US Open quarter-final winner, at the sun-splashed Arthur Ashe Stadium, New York, on Wednesday.

After the match, Harris said “there’s a lot I can take moving forward”, and he was right. One of the things he’ll take forward is a healthy bank balance. Before the match, he was already guaranteed his biggest payday in his pro career after reaching the US Open fourth round.

By the time he walked off the centre court on Wednesday, his singles exploits were worth R9m. As he progressed through the main draw, he earned R107,000 (1st round), R1.65 (2nd), R2.6 (3rd), R3.8m (4th) and R6m (quarter-final).

He also played two rounds in the doubles, and he earned R770,000 for his troubles. This bonus boosted his 2021 US Open earnings to R15.8m.

Then there’s also the matter of a massive move up the rankings after arriving at the event with a 46th slot on the world table. He’s presently at 31 on the ATP’s live rankings and that could well be the slot he’ll find himself when the updates are announced on Monday.

No small wonder the unseeded Harris was smiling afterwards at the post-match interview, even though he suffered defeat at the hands of the world No.4, and fourth-seeded Russian-born German Zverev.

“It (the loss) is not an easy one to swallow,” said Harris. “I mean, it was a little bit of a roller-coaster match. I had my opportunities. It didn’t exactly go my way today.

“The level wasn’t quite where it needed to be. A little disappointing in that regard. Nonetheless, still, a lot of positives to take from the week even though it was not an ideal match today.

“I had an impressive run and the tournament as a whole was really good. Had some big wins against top players, including a lot of seeds I took out.

“On the way, I played a five-setter. Physically I was in good shape, even today.

“I feel like there’s a lot I learnt from this week. There is a lot I can take moving forward. I mean, I’m really happy with the tournament as a whole, for sure.

“It’s my first quarter-finals at a Slam, so we’ll take that.”

Harris will remain in New York to play for South Africa in next week’s Davis Cup tie against Venezuela, at a venue just a stone’s throw away from the US Open facility.

“I have Davis Cup next week and we (South Africa) are playing here in New York,” said Harris.

“I’ll be here for a little bit longer and then just we’ll (my support staff) reassess after that and see where my head’s at, see where the body is at.

“I’ll be around for Indian Wells (Indian Wells, California), that’s for sure. Then the Masters (Paris) are pretty important. Maybe a build-up event before Paris. Not too many weeks left this year.”

Harris said he would draw confidence from his US Open campaign.

“You get a lot of confidence in your game (from a run like this). You see you can beat all these top players,” said Harris.

“If you go deep into a tournament like this, you’ve got some more belief.

“Especially in some of the smaller tournaments, when you play some of the guys ranked around the same ranking as me or even lower, you’ll go into those matches with a bit more confidence.

“I think, hopefully, this is just the start of big things. Hopefully, I can turn this into some more good results.”


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