BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
ZIMBABWE’S leading doubles tennis player Benjamin Lock has expressed delight at his blossoming partnership with younger sibling Courtney after the pair clinched their first ITF
World Tennis Tour title of 2019 at the $15 000 M15 Sharm El Sheikh Tournament in Egypt at the weekend.
Competing in their third final in Egypt in as many weeks, the Lock brothers dug deep to save four match points on their way to a hard-fought 7-6(4), 6-7(5) [11-9] win against
Ryan Nijboer from Netherlands and Spaniard Pablo Vivero Gonzalez in a tightly contested final at the Soho Square Tennis and Squash Centre on Saturday.
“The final was an extremely tough match. There were just two breaks in the entire match, it doesn’t get closer than that and we were down match points 9-5 in the third set tie breaker. We saved four match points and came back and won six points in a roll to close it out,” Benjamin told NewsDaySport in an interview.
He added: “We lost narrowly in a final last week against two good players and we were pretty disappointed that we lost that match, but we put in a lot of work this week and
practiced hard. We put in a lot of work in the gym as well and had our coach, Stephan de Kock from South Africa, with us for these two weeks. He was really pushing us to focus on finer details going into this week and we played really consistently all the way up until the final.”
The Lock brothers have now won eight ITF World Tennis Tour doubles titles together since winning their first doubles title together three years ago in Mozambique. Benjamin believes they are beginning to form a solid partnership.
“I think Courtney and I are getting better as a team. We’re growing stronger in our partnership and we are very happy with the work that we did this week. We’ve played with each other for so long in so many matches and different pressure situations, but today (on Saturday) when we were down we didn’t panic and we just did our jobs on the court and stuck to our tactics and it paid off.
The Zimbabwean pair, who won five doubles titles on the circuit last season alone, hope they can step up to the ATP Challenger Tour, a feeder circuit to the top tier ATP World Tour.
“We are very thrilled with the win as it boosts us in the rankings and will definitely help us to now play on the Challenger Tour, which is going to be huge for us. It gives us huge confidence getting closer to the Davis Cup tie and I think if we continue to play like this we can really do well on the bigger stages.”
Benjamin (25) and Courtney (21) will now head to Dubai, where they will get an opportunity to train against some of the best tennis players in the world, who are participating in the Dubai Tennis Championships.
“Our coach coaches Raven Klassen, who is 13th in the world in doubles, so we will be practicing with him and a bunch of other top tennis players as well. It will be great to see all the top players in the world. Roger Federer is playing there as well, so it’s going to be a great learning experience for us and we are very excited.”
After training camp in Dubai the Lock brothers head to the US, Canada and Mexico to participate in ATP Challenger Tour ahead of Zimbabwe’s Davis Cup Europe/Africa Group II away tie against Romania in April.