South Africa: Healthy Dose of Confidence Propels South African Tennis Star to New Heights

analysis

South Africa's Lloyd Harris has reached a career-high 31 in the men's singles rankings after making the quarterfinals at the US Open.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

Lloyd Harris has enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2021, and along with a steady rise up the rankings comes a healthy dose of confidence.

Harris is now at 31 in the world. He first broke into the top 100 on 18 November 2019 and his rise during two Covid-impacted years has been steady. In many ways it has been remarkable because players' rankings have been "protected" owing to the pandemic, meaning they aren't losing points by missing tournaments.

In a gladiatorial sport such as tennis, a lack of confidence is as crippling as a weak backhand or serve. Not everyone can win, but everyone has to believe they can win - really believe it - otherwise there is no point being out there.

Harris has paid his dues for three years on tour, initially grinding out the odd victory to earn enough prize money to get to the next event and grind again.

Every tennis player on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour was a child phenom and...

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