DAVIS Cup player Benjamin Lock is expected to carry the nation’s hopes in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Zimbabwe F1 Futures Tournament which serves off at Harare Sports Club’s hard outdoor courts today.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The Zimbabwe F1 Futures tournament, which has a prize fund of $10 000, runs until June 21 and will be the first of three events on the ITF Men’s Futures Circuit to be held in the country until July 5.
Lock heads into the tournaments on a high after he recently won the Mozambique F1 Futures singles title in Maputo for the first professional singles title of his career and second overall.
The 22-year-old Florida State University star told NewsDay Sport that he would be using the three upcoming tournaments to prepare for Zimbabwe’s Davis Cup Euro Africa Group II relegation play-off tie against Moldova next month.
“I love playing in Africa and especially at home in Zimbabwe, so I see these tournaments as preparation for the big tie in July,” Lock said.
“I like to keep my goals short term, but from now until the end the year, I just want to continue to work on my game and continue to get better each day and let the results come on their own.”
Lock, who could team up with his younger brother Courtney in the doubles, added: “The most important fixture of the year to me will be the Davis Cup and I cannot wait to get back with the team and start preparing for that.”
In the absence of Davis Cup teammates Takanyi Garanganga and Mark Fynn, Lock, who has a world ranking of 1 218, is the only local player who qualifies automatically for the main draw of the tournament.
Entries for the Zimbabwe F1 Futures Tournament closed last Thursday and a main field of 32 singles players is expected while 16 pairs are anticipated for the doubles.
Nicolaas Scholtz from South Africa is the highest-ranked entrant at number 450 on the world rankings, while Arthur Surreaux of France is the second best player at number 568.
The United States, with four players, have the highest number of players assured of a place in the main draw.
These include Evan Tyler Hochwalt Song, Evan King and Michael Grant, who is coached by former Zimbabwe Davis Cup player Zibusiso Ncube.