Lloyd Harris: 'Facing Roger Federer at Wimbledon was very special for me'


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Lloyd Harris: 'Facing Roger Federer at Wimbledon was very special for me'

World no. 98 Lloyd Harris had to make a trip back home to Cape Town from Australia at the beginning of February, getting a chance to hit with Roger Federer ahead of the record-breaking Federer vs. Nadal clash in front of the crowd of 52,000.

Like all the other players, Lloyd is forced to stay at home, with no tennis tournaments for at least four and a half months due to a coronavirus that forced the organizers of Wimbledon to cancel the most prestigious event as well on Wednesday.

Harris is sad about the grass Major but he understands it is out of players' control, urging everyone to stay safe at home. Last year, Lloyd had the opportunity to face the one and only Roger Federer in the first round at the All England Club, winning the opening set before the Swiss notched a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win, his 96th at Wimbledon.

Serving at 56%, Federer lost just 16 points in his games, getting broken once and delivering six breaks from 12 opportunities to control the scoreboard from start to finish after the opener. The eight-time champion fired 41 winners with 14 unforced errors, playing flawless tennis in the final 80 minutes to leave the rival far behind despite a valiant effort.

Playing with no fear, Lloyd did almost everything right in the opening set, firing seven winners and three unforced errors, playing against only one break point and securing a break at 3-2 when Federer netted a backhand. A service winner pushed the youngster 5-2 up after just 20 minutes, fending off a break chance in the ninth game to grab the first set 6-3.

Roger should have been in all kind of problems in set number two as well after landing only 47% of the first serve in but no one could notice that, dropping only three points behind the initial shot and finding the solution for the rival's serve that he mastered twice for a 6-1.

Federer broke in game four after a massive forehand error from Harris and again at 4-1 to increase the lead and close the set with a comfortable hold in the next game, gathering the momentum ahead of the third set. There, Federer put in miserable 28% of the first serve but that made no difference once again, giving away just two points and mounting the pressure on Lloyd who couldn't deal with it.

Roger broke him at 15 with a smash winner at 1-1 and forged a 5-2 advantage with another break before holding at love for a 6-2 and two sets to one lead in swift 79 minutes. Struggling with a left leg injury, Lloyd stood no chance in the fourth set, barely winning any point on the return and allowing Federer to break him in games three and seven, with the Swiss moving over the top after a service winner in game eight for the place in round two.

"It's unfortunate news that Wimbledon is canceled, together with the entire grass-court season that led to it and the clay swing before that. Things are out of our control at this point and we must look at the bigger picture.

It is important for us as the world to stay safe and healthy at home," said Harris. "This is not just your normal crisis but something very serious. I just urge everyone to stay safe and be at home with your families and friends.

Wimbledon is an extraordinary tournament. I had some fun memories there last year playing Roger Federer on the Center court; it was very special for me. Something I got to share with lots of people. Wimbledon will be dearly missed by me, the fans and all the other players, including other tournaments that have been canceled.

Still, as soon as this all clears up, we will be back to entertain, with all the fans being able to follow their favorite players. I am just looking forward to working hard during this time and to be getting back on the court soon."