Kevin Anderson and Lloyd Harris take different roads to Melbourne
The South African pair of Kevin Anderson and Lloyd Harris are taking different routes to the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Anderson‚ the world number six‚ will go into the main draw of the season’s first major on the back of winning his sixth ATP title last weekend.
Anderson won the Tata Pune Open in India‚ beating massive serving Croat Ivo Karlovic in a final predictably dominated by aces to start his year where he left off in 2018.
Anderson moved into the top 10 on the world rankings in 2018‚ made the Wimbledon final‚ won two tournaments‚ a record 45 matches as well as making the semi-finals of the season’s finale at the ATP World Championships in London.
Life is good for the 32-year-old Johannesburger.
Harris‚ by contrast‚ is being put through the ringer in the brutal Australian Open qualifying at Melbourne Park.
The 21-year-old Capetonian survives off a shoestring budget playing the bulk of his tennis on the secondary level Challenger Tour.
He needs to win three matches at qualifying to make it into the main draw of the Australian Open‚ and even then‚ a first round exit is likely‚ as he would draw one of the top seeds as a qualifier.
In 2018‚ Harris came through qualifying to make the main draw of the US Open‚ but lost in the first round against experienced French campaigner Gilles Simone.
But for Harris and others like him‚ just making the main draw of a major‚ the first round prize money of $US35500 (R350000) will keep him going on tour for the bulk of the year.
Harris advanced to the second round of qualifying at the Australian Open on Tuesday morning.
He was a comfortable 6-2‚ 6-1 winner over Zdenek Kolar of the Czech Republic.
The young South African Davis Cup player‚ seeded 11th for qualifying‚ is back in action on Thursday against Dominik Koepfer from Germany.
Koepfer is currently ranked 161 in the ATP singles rankings to Harris’ 119.
Anderson has no such difficulties and after his triumph in India has been able to take a week to prepare and acclimatise for Melbourne.
Although Anderson enjoyed the most successful year of his career in 2018‚ winning R68.8m in prize money and reaching a career-high No 5 in the world rankings following his run to the Wimbledon final‚ his only blemish was in Melbourne.
In a tough first round‚ Anderson lost to Britain’s Kyle Edmund in five sets‚ which came just days after making the final in Pune.
It was a massive upset.
Hopefully history won’t repeat itself in 2019 for South Africa’s best Grand Slam hope in a generation.