It hasn’t been an easy road for Zimbabwe’s Benjamin Lock in his career. From financial hurdles to Covid-19, Lock has seen it all in his early career. However, the Zimbabwean is determined to prove his mettle in the ongoing Bengaluru Open.
Lock was knocked out by local lad Prajnesh Gunneswaran in the qualifying round of the tournament in straight sets. However, he will still look to make his mark in the doubles event with his partner, Akira Santillan.
“As a junior I had a lot of success, beating a number of top-10 players,” says Lock as quoted by the Hindu. “From then I knew that I had good talent. [But] when I was 18, my family couldn’t afford me turning professional. Zimbabwe has no tennis infrastructure and I had no option but to go to the United States [Florida State University].”
“There I finished top-10 in singles and was beating the best. I also played [Daniil] Medvedev (mid-2016) while still in college, at a Challenger. He was top-100 then. It was a close match and a few months later he was top-20.”
However, college tennis didn’t help Lock turn pro. In 2019, ATP stopped offering ATP ranking points to ITF Tournaments, which is the lowest category in the game and Zimbabwe only had ITF tournaments.
“There were no Challengers, so I couldn’t get ATP points. I went backward. But I overcame that and even won a tournament in Australia. I also beat Lorenzo Musetti [World No. 18 now]. But then COVID-19 hit and it was a different tour.”
The 29-year-old from Harare added that Davis Cup is a really crucial tournament for him as he grew up watching the likes of Andre Agassi and Lleyton Hewitt.
“Davis Cup is very special for me. I grew up watching some of the biggest stars in Harare. John McEnroe as captain, Andre Agassi, Lleyton Hewitt, Goran Ivanisevic as captains…. I was so inspired to play.”
Lock wants to carry his David Cup form into the tour. “I genuinely feel my tennis age is 23-24, keeping in mind the college years, rule changes and pandemic. Now, on my own merit, I play Challenger qualifying, and at the weaker ones the main draw. I am committed to getting better.”
Lock is currently 195 in the world and he will look to climb up in the rankings chart.