Lloyd Harris. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/REG CALDECOTT
Lloyd Harris. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/REG CALDECOTT

SA’s "other" men’s singles player Lloyd Harris made a significant career breakthrough this week when he moved into the top 100 on the ATP tour rankings.

Harris‚ 21‚ claimed his third ATP Challenger Tour title with victory at the Launceston Open in Tasmania on Sunday and moved up 19 places when the rankings were released on Monday.

The prize money and rankings points on the tour’s second tier are meagre‚ but that is how the other half of professional tennis players scrape out a living as they slowly work their way up. Or down‚ depending on the stage of their careers.

Harris is most certainly on the way up and the R1.1m he has accumulated in prize money is enough to allow him to stress less about bills and the cost of travelling the world‚ and focus more on his tennis.

A year ago he was ranked in the 300s and on Monday he was up to 100 to join world No 5 Kevin Anderson as the other South African male in the top 100. It is the first time in 15 years two South Africans have been in the top 100. In 2004 Wayne Ferreira was at No 47 and Wesley Moodie at 88.

Harris did not drop a set all week in Tasmania and he beat Lorenzo Guistino 6-2 6-2 in the final.

“I am obviously super happy to break into the top 100‚” he said Harris. “This is a huge milestone for any professional tennis player. I am really excited to see what I can achieve in the near future.

“The win is a big boost with the ranking system and all the points you can get from winning this title … it makes my route throughout the year a lot easier.

“I started off from the first match serving well‚ playing well‚ competing hard and trying to find my best tennis. It has been a phenomenal week for me.

“I was consistent throughout the week‚ I focused very well. I was competing for every point out there and really tried to battle. I was making it difficult for guys to break me‚ so that was one of the keys” Harris said.