His Coach Predicted Harris Would Face Federer At Wimbledon

Twelve years ago, South African watched Federer play Safin on Centre Court

Lloyd Harris’s coach can apparently predict the future. Leading into Wimbledon, Anthony Harris (no relation) had been telling the South African that he would be playing Roger Federer – and that was prior to the draw ceremony last Friday.

“My coach has been calling me for the last three weeks, saying, ‘Look you’re going to play Roger first round.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, yeah sure. It’s like one of 128,’” the 22-year-old said in an interview with ATPTour.com.

While the odds were in Harris’s favour, the luck of the draw placed him on line 127 – directly above Federer, the No. 2 seed and eight-time Wimbledon champion.

“[My coach] came to me in the lounge – I was sitting there with my mom – and he was like, ‘I don’t know how this happened, but it came true,’ and we were kind of shocked and surprised and excited at the same time,” said Harris.

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Harris has idolised the Swiss since he was five years old, and in fact, on his first visit to Wimbledon in 2007, he watched Federer play Marat Safin on Centre Court. Federer won 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(4) en route to his fifth title at The All England Club.

“I’ve been watching him all my life,” Harris said. “It was one of my best experiences when I was 10 years old… my parents flew me over here to watch some tennis, and my first match I got to see was him and Safin on Centre Court. It was just mind-blowing for me watching these guys go about…

“Now I’m here and I’m going to play against him. It’s just something special for me.”

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Making it even more special when he walks onto Centre Court with his idol is that Tuesday’s match will mark Harris’s main draw debut at Wimbledon.

“It’s hard to describe. It’s an amazing feeling and I’m super excited, especially my first time to play probably the greatest grass player, the greatest tennis player of all-time,” he said. “It’s going to be something electrifying for sure. It’s going to be one of those goosebump moments for the first time in my career where I’m going to go out on the Centre Court.”

Harris broke into the Top 100 earlier this season, and is currently at a career-high No. 86 in the ATP Rankings. Last month, he scored his first Grand Slam victory when he rallied to defeat Czech Lukas Rosol in five sets at Roland Garros.

“I feel ready,” he said. “I’ve been preparing well and I’m looking forward to this opportunity.”