One year ago, Lloyd Harris was hovering outside the Top 300 and fighting to climb the ATP Rankings on the former Futures circuit.
What a difference a year makes. On Sunday, Harris blasted to his third ATP Challenger Tour title, dominating the field in Launceston, Australia. The 21-year-old did not drop a set all week and would secure a 6-2, 6-2 win over Lorenzo Giustino in the final.
With the victory, Harris made his big breakthrough, surging into the Top 100 for the first time. It was a historic achievement, as the Cape Town native joined World No. 5 Kevin Anderson in the elite club, marking the first time multiple South Africans are in the Top 100 in 15 years.
Harris makes his debut on Monday at a career-high No. 100 in the ATP Rankings. The last time two players from South Africa featured in the Top 100 was 23 February 2004, when Wayne Ferreira was at No. 47 and Wesley Moodie at No. 88.
“This win definitely helps to get one step closer to where I want to be: a Top 100 player consistently. I want to break into the Top 50 next. That’s my new goal. I’ll be working hard for that this year.”
Akin to Anderson, Harris boasts a big game predicated on an imposing serve and giant groundstrokes. Just six months ago, he cracked the Top 200 with his maiden title in Lexington, USA, and would inch further ahead with a second crown in Stockton in October.
The 21-year-old capped his 2018 season with a successful stint on the ATP Tour, earning his first tour-level match win over Gael Monfils at the Chengdu Open. He concluded his campaign with a trip to Milan for the Next Gen ATP Finals, appearing as the first alternate.
Harris returns to the ATP Tour in February, competing in qualifying at both the New York Open and Delray Beach Open.