Lloyd Harris is into the quarter-finals of a major for the first time after beating American Reilly Opelka 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 on Monday to reach the last eight at the US Open. Harris is the second South African man since Wayne Ferreira in 1992 to make the US Open quarter-finals.
The 24-year-old recently spoke to ATPTour.com about life on Tour, his love for flying and more.
What are two things you can’t leave home without?
One would have to be my cell phone or my computer, either of those. I would need one of them to entertain me with Netflix. The other would be my golf glove because wherever I go I need to find a golf course to play golf. I can’t travel around with my clubs as that would be next level.
What is something you have forgotten on a trip that has caused an issue?
We recently forgot two of my laundry bags with all my tennis kit. One clean bag and one dirty bag of laundry, so we were pretty worried I wasn’t going to have clothes for the next tournament. Luckily we managed to get it sent to us, but that could be pretty disastrous to rock up to a tournament without any tennis clothes. That was in Cincinnati.
Do you enjoy the travelling or is it something you just have to do as it is part of your job?
For the most part, I have really enjoyed travelling. I enjoy the flying aspect. I think the long hours at the airports can be challenging, especially when you are travelling more locally. But I feel when you are travelling internationally, it is a little easier as you get the lounge access. Recently with Covid, it has been a little bit harder with all the paperwork and the PCR tests, it has made it more draining.
I like the experience of rocking up early for the flight and having breakfast and a coffee and then get ready for the journey ahead. I have some time on the flight to watch Netflix.
Jet lag is tough, but it depends which way I go. When I come to America, it is very easy for me. It is actually a good thing as I am always up at 7 a.m. But when I am in Asia, I can’t go to sleep and can’t wake up in the morning. Normally it hits me on days three and four.
Have you gone to a tournament because you want to visit a particular city?
It is nice to visit and see new places. It is quite refreshing. I have not played that many years on the Tour, so it is not like I have played all the events. Some of the events are new for me, so I enjoy going to them. I also like going to events where I have played well and enjoy the conditions and have done well in the past.
Is there a tournament you have been to where you have gone to see a particular sight?
I remember we had a tour guide a few years ago in Washington D.C. take us to see the White House, which was pretty cool. When you are in Paris, you go for some pictures of the Eiffel Tower. I wouldn’t say there was something specifically that sticks out, but we visit so many cool cities on the Tour, I think I have seen a lot of the main things. I am not particularly huge on spending the whole day out as tennis tires you out enough.
Outside of tennis, is there a particular vacation spot you love?
I used to really like going to Dubai, but now I moved there so I can’t call it a vacation spot anymore. My girlfriend and I had an unbelievable trip to Bali two years ago and we visited some islands, which were just spectacular. The Philippines is also high up on my list. I had some friends go there. Hopefully I can ask them for some tips! It is a little bit of a hidden gem. I have seen some unbelievable pictures and videos from there.
Do you have any crazy stories from your travels?
I think one of the craziest journeys I have done is when I was still playing juniors in San Luis Potosi in Mexico. We had a 16-hour flight from Johannesburg to New York. Then I had a long layover there, and a six-hour flight to Mexico City. It was a 40-hour journey overall. It becomes quite a journey being from South Africa.
How do you take care of your body in those situations?
It is not always easy. I feel like if I am going to big events, I have to take a lot more care. But if it is for a holiday you can get away with being a little more stiff and tired as long as you are not causing damage. You have a lot of time lying next to the beach. When I go to big events, I try to fly more comfortably.
How do you make yourself comfortable in hotel rooms when travelling on the road?
A lot of places you spend five, maybe six days, which is not much. There is not much of a home aspect in that regard. I think the thing that makes you feel the most at home is unpacking and getting into a little routine. [Maybe you] wake up and have a specific coffee, stock the fridge with something for that week, maybe a chocolate log or sparkling water.
I used to travel with a full coffee machine. Especially at tournaments in Asia where coffee wasn’t as accessible, I had this huge espresso machine. It was kind of hilarious. Then we went over to the Minipresso, which is smaller and portable. But these days, it is easy to get coffee, so it is not necessary thankfully.