One of the stories of the Adelaide International has been the play of Lloyd Harris, who has powered his way into the semifinals. The South African needed to qualify just to reach the main draw and after wins over Cristian Garin, Laslo Djere and Pablo Carreno Busta, the 22-year old finds himself one win away from his first career tour-level final.
Harris reflects on "process" and "journey" to get to current position
"It's been a long process for me", Harris said after his 6-3, 6-3 quarterfinal victory over fourth-seeded Carreno Busta. "I don't have any wild cards or any big tournaments I could get into in my country or anything like that, so it was a long road for me. I was playing Futures for two years, two and a half years before starting off on the Challengers.
"I was kind of winning a couple of rounds here and there, having to drop back, play a lot of Futures. Just keep myself in the rankings. Eventually got in the Grand Slam qualifying Wasn't winning any matches there, so it was a long journey and I had to really grind for a long time."
The South African, who also knocked off Nicolas Jarry last week at the ATP Cup, continued on by saying "if I look back, I mean, still two years ago I was playing Futures, so it's not a very distant memory. I have very good memories, a lot of good success that came out of there.
"I think it's really helped me with the person I am now and just that little bit of extra little bit of fight and hard work I had to put in to make it to where I am now. I believe going forward it just makes me stronger and a better competitor. I feel like I really deserve it."
South African more "comfortable" in second career semifinal
Harris' only other career semifinal was last September in Chengdu and he feels more prepared this time around as he faces fellow qualifier Tommy Paul: "I feel like this time around at least I have been there. I'm not a stranger to that anymore. Playing with a lot of confidence, beating a couple of really high players.
"So i'm looking forward to the challenge, and one of my main goals for this year is to go deep in an ATP tournament and win a title. So i'll be chasing that. I'm hungry for that. I'll be giving it my all out there."
22-year old looking to help raise profile of sport in home country
After breaking into the top 100 for the first time in February of last year, joining Kevin Anderson, it was the first time since 2004 that two South African men had broken inside that elite class of players. Harris is hoping to use his success as motivation back in his native country.
"I think it's something we really need as a country, for more than one player to be successful and be doing well week in and week out on the our, because that just lifts and boosts the country", he said. "And especially, i'm still living in Cape Town, still residing there, I feel like whenever i'm back home, I make a big impact on all the younger players.
"A lot of the juniors and younger players that are good are from around my area and I get back to see them when i'm back in South Africa. So by just trying to give back a little bit to them and just to boost tennis all in all. We have an exhibition coming up, as well, in Cape Town, we're really trying to raise awareness for that.
"Listen, we're actually such a great tennis nation, let's get the people more involved. Let's try and get back to that point where we have a bunch of players in the Top 100, and also try and get some female players up there again."