JOHANNESBURG – Lloyd Harris was reminded of what it would require to feature among the best singles players in the world with a resounding 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 defeat to Russian Daniil Medvedev at the Australian Open yesterday.
South Africa’s second best player’s opening match in Melbourne came to an anti-climactic end after the euphoria of making it into his second Grand Slam tournament.
But the match will serve as a wake-up call where you are punished for not being at your best when playing the world’s top 20 players.
Harris admitted as much after world number 19 Medvedev, ranked 100 places above the South African, made him pay for 39 unforced errors.
“Today was very difficult for me. Daniil won a couple of crucial points early in the first set and that kind of set the tone for the match,” he said.
“He played well and I was unable to produce my best tennis. I learnt a lot from this match and it only motivates me to work harder to get stronger and better for the future.”
South Africa’s rising star will be better for the experience and will be looking to continue his stellar improvements of the last year.
Lloyd Harris on his Australian Open exit: “I learnt a lot from this match and it only motivates me to work harder, to get stronger and better for the future.” More at https://t.co/76DQM5ZfKl. pic.twitter.com/VqwtBWhH6R— Tennis South Africa (@TennisSA) January 15, 2019
The 21-year-old has set his sights on making it into the world top 100 this season after a breakthrough 2018.
He reached a career-high ranking of 110 in 2018 after winning two Challenger Series titles.
Harris qualified for his first major at the 2018 US Open where former world number six Gilles Simon of France beat him in the first round.
But for now, it is back to the drawing board for Harris, who will be looking to edge closer to his goal of the top-100 and regular places in ATP World Tour tournaments.