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The Nomadic Life With… Lloyd Harris

  • Posted: Sep 06, 2021

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 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.


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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.

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Preview: Djokovic Squares Off Against Next Great US Hope

  • Posted: Sep 06, 2021

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam in 2021 enters its final week on Monday as the top seed takes on #NextGenATP American Jenson Brooksby for the first time at the US Open. The Serbian has never lost to an American at Flushing Meadows in 10 previous ATP Head2Head meetings and stands unbeaten in his past 20 showdowns with players from the US overall.

The three-time champion will be wary of the 20-year-old wild card – the youngest from the home contenders to reach the fourth round in New York since a 20-year-old Andy Roddick in 2002. It will be No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Race to Turin versus sixth in the ATP Race to Milan.

Brooksby was outside the Top 200 in the FedEx ATP Rankings less than four months ago, but cracked the Top 100 earlier this month after he reached the final in Newport and the semi-finals in Washington, D.C. He avenged a first-round Roland Garros defeat to Aslan Karatsev from May to book his maiden Grand Slam fourth-round berth.

“It will be a great challenge. One of the toughest there can be,” Brooksby said. “But I’m really believing in myself with what I’m showing out there so far. I got a great team around me to help me recover.. [It] will be really exciting.

“I’m sure it will be a full crowd. I’m excited to see how well I can focus, see how well I can play with one of the biggest challenges and with one of the biggest crowds in a court that you can get.”

Djokovic won his 17th straight showdown against Kei Nishikori, following a hard-fought four-set triumph in the third round. Brooksby will be sure to ride the home crowd support, not that it will faze his opponent.

“Arthur Ashe is the place where you bring the energy, that’s for sure, where you feel this kind of electric atmosphere, particularly in the matches like this where it’s decided in a few points,” Djokovic said after his win over Nishikori. “Yeah, the crowd was involved. It was loud. It was nice. I thrived on that.”

Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Alexander Zverev continues his campaign for a maiden Grand Slam title when he tackles #NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner on Arthur Ashe Stadium. The pair split two prior ATP Head2Head meetings, with Sinner having won their only previous clash at a major at Roland Garros last year.

Sinner survived 17th seed Gael Monfils in five sets to reach the fourth round in New York for the first time, while Zverev advanced after Jack Sock retired in the fourth set with a groin injury. Following his Tokyo and Cincinnati title runs, Zverev looks for his 15th straight match win against the 20-year-old.

In the second German vs. Italian fourth-round showdown on Monday, qualifier Oscar Otte takes on Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini on Louis Arrmstrong Stadium for a place in his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final. The World No. 144 would become the lowest-ranked US Open quarter-finalist since No. 174 Jimmy Connors in 1991 should he level the ledger at 1-1 in the pair’s ATP Head2Head.

Otte has already beaten two Italians in the main draw this year – 20th seed Lorenzo Sonego and Andreas Seppi. Sixth seed Berrettini is bidding to reach his third major quarter-final of 2021 and comes off a five-set victory over Winston-Salem champion Ilya Ivashka.

A first-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist is guaranteed on Louis Armstrong Stadium when 22nd seed Reilly Opelka and unseeded South African Lloyd Harris meet for the second time. The 24-year-old American narrowly edged the World No. 46 in a third-set tie-break en route to the Toronto final last month. Harris picked up his third Top 10 victory of the season when he defeated seventh seed Denis Shapovalov in straight sets in the third round.

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Felix Finds More To Worry About Than Ball In Play

  • Posted: Sep 06, 2021

It is one thing to establish good control of the ball in play when Frances Tiafoe is crunching forehands from the opposite end of Arthur Ashe Stadium. But as Felix Auger-Aliassime discovered on Sunday night, it was the ball which kept falling from his own pocket that really compounded matters.

Auger-Aliassime ultimately prevailed for his maiden US Open quarter-final berth 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(6), 6-4, but not before the change in rhythm on serve to avoid any threat of a point penalty for hindrance. A new pair of shorts with deeper pockets may be on the cards for the 21-year-old Canadian ahead of his quarter-final clash with Carlos Alcaraz.

“Probably, probably,” he joked in an interview with ESPN. “It happened to me once in Cincinnati for the first time in my life – now twice here. It’s actually crazy and at some point I forgot to only take one [ball] because it’s my rhythm for my whole life.

“[At] one point I was actually holding the ball, hitting forehands and holding the ball in my pocket because it was actually about to go out. It was crazy, I had to really think about it before every time I served… Somehow I was able to stay focused. I’m glad I did it, because it would have been tricky.”

It marked the second straight major Auger-Aliassime had progressed as far, after his run at Wimbledon. And there was added cause for celebration among his compatriots after 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez earlier backed up her defeat of defending women’s champion Naomi Osaka to beat Angelique Kerber for her first Grand Slam quarter-final.

It was the first time in the Open Era a Canadian man and woman reached singles quarter-finals at the same US Open. “It’s amazing. Not only is she a great player, she has a great heart, she’s a great person,” Auger-Aliassime said.

“We had a good time at the [Tokyo] Olympics, Team Canada together, so I’m happy that a few weeks later we’re here again playing some good tennis and I’m really proud of her for what she’s done. Hopefully she’ll go really far.”

There was pride in simply sharing Arthur Ashe Stadium with Tiafoe in prime time on Sunday night. Regardless of the result, Auger-Aliassime was pleased two black men were able to honour Ashe’s legacy.

“It’s great… We’ve come a long way, Frances and I,” Auger-Aliassime told ESPN. “Our families have tough backgrounds, both of us.

“So for us to be able to be here today to bring new faces to tennis, to inspire hopefully kids in New York but also all over the world, I hope we’ll see many new faces in the future in tennis. I’m happy that Frances and I can be part of that group inspiring others.”

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Felix Fends Off Tiafoe To Reach US Open Quarters

  • Posted: Sep 06, 2021

Felix Auger-Aliassime has reached his second straight Grand Slam quarter-final, withstanding Frances Tiafoe and the American’s home crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium to prevail on Sunday night at Flushing Meadows.

The Canadian became the youngest man to reach back-to-back Grand Slam quarter-finals since Juan Martin del Potro in 2008-2009 with the 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(6), 6-4 fourth-round triumph. Victory set a blockbuster showdown with #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz.

In a first ATP Head2Head meeting between the pair, the 12th seed advanced on the back of 55 winners, including 24 aces. He won 83 per cent of first-serve points but converted just three of 15 break points.

“It was a tough start from me, a lot of nerves,” Auger-Aliassime said. “After I tried to recover I felt like I could have been able to break back in the first set but it is what it is, you’ve got to accept it.

“I played a great second set. That third set was almost a coin toss. I did feel like I had what it took to win that set and I just had to stay strong on my serve in the end. I’m really happy to be through.”

Auger-Aliassime reached his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon in July, before he fell to eventual finalist, seventh seed Matteo Berrettini. A first major semi-final will be on the line when he meets 18-year-old Alcaraz for the first time.

“He’s a great player. At some point age is just a number. He already feels like a player who’s established,” Auger-Aliassime said. “He’s playing some amazing tennis so I think we’ll see a lot of him, a lot of us, a lot of Frances in the future.”

In the opening set, a reflex backhand volley from the American into the corner brought his home crowd to its feet as he went on to hold from 0-40 down for 3-1. Tiafoe – a quarter-finalist at the 2019 Australian Open – faced break points in all four service games of the set.

The Canadian was unable to convert any of his eight opportunities and it proved costly as Tiafoe reeled off a love hold to take the opening set on a huge unreturnable first serve. Auger-Aliassime finally converted a break point to snatch a 4-2 advantage in the second set and he carried the momentum to level the match at a set apiece.

In the third set, neither player could be separated on serve but with Tiafoe serving to stay in it, the Canadian brought up two set points on a low backhand volley winner. Again the American’s grit under the pump on serve came to the fore as he saved both and ripped a 223km/h serve down the T on his way to levelling at 5-5. Another set point against his serve was saved as he forced the tie-break, but Auger-Aliassime would not be denied again.

One point from letting the set slip, the Canadian clinched the tie-break on his fourth set point to hold a two-sets-to-one lead after two hours and 41 minutes.

Co-coaches Frederic Fontang and Toni Nadal nodded their approval from the stands as the 21-year-old turned the screws with an early break in the fourth set and it was the only advantage he required as he served it out after three hours and 23 minutes.

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Alcaraz Books Maiden Slam Quarter-Final In Five-Set Triumph

  • Posted: Sep 06, 2021

#NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz has become the youngest US Open quarter-finalist in the Open Era after ending the run of qualifier Peter Gojowczyk in five sets at Flushing Meadows on Sunday night.

Two days after he stunned Stefanos Tsitsipas to become the youngest man to defeat a Top 3 player at the US Open, the 18-year-old secured back-to-back five-set victories for the first time in his career to advance 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0. The Spaniard finished with 35 winners – five more than his opponent – and his 45 unforced errors were 39 fewer than the German’s.

The teenager served for the opening set at 5-4 only to be broken and a brief delay due to mist did nothing to slow the German’s momentum. He reeled off three straight games and took the opening set on the seventh break.

There was no threat of a letdown from Alcaraz at having let the first set slip from his grasp as he broke immediately to set the tone for the second set. When a double fault from the German surrendered the double break, Alcaraz sensed his opportunity and put the foot down as he sealed the set after just 31 minutes. 

Gojowczyk, who reached a career-best of No. 39 in the FedEx ATP Rankings three years ago, was not about to go quietly. While he failed to serve it out the third set on his first chance, he made good on his next opportunity to serve it out after 56 minutes.

Both players had treatment on their left legs deep in the fourth set and after Alcaraz secured a hard-fought hold for 4-1, Gojowczyk looked to be struggling most. A fifth set was ensured when the Spaniard picked off consecutive backhand winners to break at the three-hour mark and he was in total control as the deciding set wore on.

After three rounds of qualifying and two of his three main draw matches had gone five sets, Gojowczyk was attempting to finish points quicker to conserve energy but momentum had firmly swung to his younger opponent. A double fault from the German gave up the double break in the deciding set and Alcaraz closed to within a game of victory on a sliding sliced crosscourt backhand winner.

His passage to a maiden Grand Slam quarter-final was sealed at the three-hour, 26-minute mark. He awaits the winner of 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime and American Frances Tiafoe for a place in the semi-finals.

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Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell & A Memorable Celebration: Otte's US Open Breakthrough

  • Posted: Sep 06, 2021

When a tennis player vomits, normally that is not a good sign. Doing it twice in as many matches is even worse. Yet after getting ill during his first two qualifying matches at this US Open, German Oscar Otte is into the fourth round of the main draw.

“In the moment when it happened, I was just thinking, ‘Okay, doesn’t matter what the score is, how the match is going to end,’” Otte told during a press conference. “I just wanted to be off court [and] out of the sun because it was so humid and hot.

“It’s a crazy ride. Just unbelievable. I didn’t expect that I could come so far.”

Otte failed to advance through Grand Slam qualifying on his first 13 attempts, although he played Roger Federer at Roland Garros two years ago as a lucky loser. He broke through his qualifying hurdle at the clay-court major this season and showed his potential in the main draw by taking a two-set lead against countryman Alexander Zverev in the first round. Otte also qualified for Wimbledon, where he won his opener in a fifth-set tie-break before losing against Andy Murray in five sets.

But things did not appear as favourable leading into the US Open. Otte had not played a hard-court tournament since an ATP Challenger Tour event in Lille, France in March. And according to the 28-year-old German’s longtime friend, two-time Roland Garros doubles champion Andreas Mies, there was another issue: a stomach bug.

“He wasn’t feeling physically well coming here,” Mies said. “He was laying in bed for one week and started practising one week before his first-round qualifying match.

“He actually vomited two times in qualifying, in his first round of qualies and his second round of qualies. He threw up in the third-set tie-break and still went on to win. He came back a few times and it just shows his great fighting spirit.”

Oscar Otte
Photo Credit: Adam Glanzman/USTA
In both the first and second rounds of qualifying, Otte saved a match point before winning a final-set tie-break. Then he battled from 6-7(8), 2-5 down to beat 20th seed Lorenzo Sonego in the first round of the main draw. Now, he will face sixth seed Matteo Berrettini for a spot in the quarter-finals and a likely showdown with 20-time major champion Novak Djokovic.

“Qualies are always tough, especially the first two rounds. I wasn’t in very good physical shape,” Otte said. “I know if I play well and my game works really good, I can make a lot of damage no matter who my opponent is.

“It’s tough. It was a long way, but I think it’s still not the end.”

Mies was 13 when he first met Otte, who was 10 at the time. They first played at Marienburger SC in Germany for eight years, before shifting to Rot-Weiss Köln for 10 years. Their first club match together came on a snowy day, when both got blitzed in singles, before they paired to crush the same two opponents in doubles.

“I remember him always being really small. He’s always been really skinny and small, and he was wearing a hat. His hat was so big, you couldn’t see his face!” Mies said. “He was 10 years old and his racquet was bigger than he was. You could already see that he was feeling the ball and he was hitting the ball clean.”

At the time, Mies remembers Otte being more of a scrappy player, who battled from behind the baseline and retrieved more than he attacked. When Mies eventually left Germany for his freshman year of college tennis at Auburn University, he returned, to a different Otte.

“He’s always been pretty small until he was 16, 17 and all of a sudden he grew so fast in a short period of time, which I think helped his game,” Mies said. “All of a sudden he made this huge jump in height and all of a sudden he has this huge serve, so he can actually serve big and still play from the baseline.”


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Otte chose to turn professional in 2011 rather than play college tennis like his close friend. But that decision did not immediately pay dividends. Currently the No. 144 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings, his career-high is No. 129. A big goal has been to crack the Top 100.

“Always when he was close and he didn’t have much to defend when he was around No. 130, he was playing nervous,” Mies said. “He was feeling the pressure.”

After Mies finished college, he played doubles with Otte for a few years — winning 13 professional titles together — until Oscar decided in 2017 that physically, he needed to focus on singles.

“He told me, ‘It’s too much for me and my body to play singles and doubles every day. Let me focus on singles to break the Top 100,’” Otte said. “I had no problem with that. We were always honest with each other. I said I think that’s a good decision actually because I saw him struggling a little bit with the body.”

Mies formed a successful partnership with Kevin Krawietz shortly thereafter, while Otte still struggled to find his breakthrough. But the German is making his mark at Flushing Meadows. He is also having a blast in the process.

After winning his past two matches, Otte has celebrated by making a circle with his thumb and index fingers on both hands and placing those circles over his eyes, similar to a celebration basketball players use when they swish a three-pointer. Mies laughed when asked about it, as he had never seen his friend do it before the second round of this tournament. It is a tribute to Anthony Modeste, a football player for FC Köln.

“Oscar is crazy, but in a positive way. He’s a really funny guy. He just likes to have fun,” Mies said. “We love to talk some bullshit and stuff. He loves to enjoy the game and time with his friends. We’re always having a good time. He’s a positive dude. He’s a really funny guy, actually. He’s a little bit crazy, but really funny.” 


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Fans might be intrigued to find that on Otte’s recent Instagram posts, he has used the hashtags #chickfila and #tacobell in reference to the fast-food restaurants.

“My sister and her husband, they are obsessed with Chick-fil-A and Taco Bell, and they always force me to go and order as soon as I’m in the States,” Otte said. “I actually did it when I came here the first couple of days. Then I was thinking, ‘Okay, maybe it’s a little bit of a lucky charm.’ So I decided to keep on with that.

“The past days I ordered Taco Bell and Chick-fil-A. I really like it. Just in the evening. Not before the match.”

On court, this has been a timely run for Otte, as he is defending 200 FedEx ATP Ranking points from a run to an ATP Challenger Tour final in Ostrava and a title in Aix en Provence during last year’s US Open. Regardless of what happens against Berrettini, maintaining this form in the weeks and months ahead will bode well for Otte.

“I know now that I have more trust in my game, and it’s working really well,” Otte said. “Let’s see when this ends.”

Otte is no longer the little kid whose big hat covered his face. The German is very much thriving in New York, and loving his moment in the sun.

“I hope he realises how good he is, because I realised it early on,” Mies said. “I’m just really happy for him.”

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Johnson/Querrey Reach US Open QF

  • Posted: Sep 06, 2021

Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey’s strong run at the US Open continued Sunday as the Americans overcame Ricardas Berankis and Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals.

The unseeded pair enjoyed a run to the semi-finals as a team in New York in 2015 and moved to within one victory of matching that this year as they won 88 per cent (29/33) of their first-serve points to advance after 58 minutes.

They will next face Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau after the sixth seeds continued their bid to claim their second tour-level title as a team with a 6-2, 7-6(5) victory against Santiago Gonzalez and Andres Molteni.

The German-Romanian team lifted the trophy in Halle in June and saved all five break points they faced against Gonzalez and Molteni to secure their victory in one hour and 48 minutes.

Australians Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell also advanced into the last eight as they defeated Americans Evan King and Hunter Reese 6-4, 6-4, while Dominik Koepfer and Emil Ruusuvuori reached the third round as they received a walkover from Neal Skupski and Jack Sock.

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