ZIMBABWE’S number one tennis player, Benjamin Lock, says representing his country has been the greatest honour of his career.
He is an oasis of confidence ahead of the Davis Cup Europe/Africa World Group II play-off tie against Syria which starts today at Harare Sports Club.
Lock was drawn against the visitors top seed Yacoub Makzoume.
The battle starts with Zimbabwe’s second seeded player, Takanyi Garanganga, taking on Syria’s Hazem Naw in the opening singles match.
Lock and Yacoub Makzoume are scheduled to play later in the day.
The Lock brothers, of which Courtney is the other member, will feature in tomorrow’s doubles battle against the Syrian pair of Amer Naow and Hazem Naw.
After the doubles event, the players will take a break before Lock returns to action in the reverse singles against Hazem Naw.
Garanganga will then take on Makzoume in the last match.
Lock steps into the Davis Cup battle after winning the Launceston International in Australia in February.
He also reached the semi-finals at the Mexico Open championships.
“I am looking forward to winning my match (today) as I am fit and it will be interesting to see how they will handle the conditions,” he said.
“It’s different here in Harare and we have played here more than a hundred times so l am really geared to go.
“It’s the greatest honour to represent your country, that’s what we aim for as athletes.”
The team’s focus remains making it to the next group.
“We are aiming to progress to the next group and keep on improving tennis in Zimbabwe,” said Lock.
“It’s important to us as individuals and as a team. It will encourage young players to play because there’s is a lot of talent in Zimbabwe.
“I have played a lot of quality players at high level tournaments and it helps me with my confidence knowing that they (the Syrians) haven’t had the same exposure this year as some of us.
“But, we have to stay extremely focused because in sport, things change.”
The Syrian doubles pair of Amer Naow and Hazem Naw, who are also siblings, said they were not worried about the conditions.
“We have played together against a good team and it was good experience, we just have to focus on our game and everything is possible,” said Amer.
“We have been here since Tuesday and the whole point was to get used to the floor and the climatic conditions and we are ready for tomorrow’s match.
“l am also proud to play for my country and l would love to come back again to this side of the planet soon.”