Former world No. 19 Xavier Malisse absolutely enjoyed returning to the court last week in Antwerp. Malisse, who retired in 2013, took a wild card into Antwerp to play doubles with Lloyd Harris. Malisse was exceptional for someone who retired eight years ago as he and Harris made the Antwerp semifinal.
Malisse and Harris beat Romain Arneodo and Matt Reid in their opener, before stunning Marcelo Melo and Ivan Dodig for the semifinal. In the semifinal, Malisse and Harris lost to Wesley Koolhof and Jean-Julien Rojer. Hearing the Antwerp crowd chant his name gave Malisse chills.
"It was fun. For the semi-final, the stands were almost full . It was a bit of a step back in time, for a week. After eight years of absence, hear people chant my name, it gave me chills," Malisse said, per We Love Tennis.
Harris enjoying success with Malisse
Malisse now works as Harris' coach and the South African made the Antwerp quarterfinal, before losing to eventual champion Jannik Sinner.
“I am very happy to be in the final,” Sinner said after beating Harris. “He is having an incredible season, so best of luck for him to finish in the best possible way. Thanks to the crowd for coming out today, it was a great atmosphere here.
I just love playing here and love playing indoors." This past August, Harris clinched the biggest win of his career when he stunned Rafael Nadal in Washington. "Obviously when you beat a legendary player like Rafa, who's achieved everything that he's achieved in his career, it's probably one of my most memorable matches that I've ever had," Harris said.
"Beating a 20-time Grand Slam champion was extremely special but then if you look at a tournament as a whole, it's definitely a much bigger thing to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final. There's a lot more coverage, a lot more people watching and tuning in, bigger stadiums."