Like father, like son

HARARE - Former Zimbabwe Davis Cup player Martin Lock says “it’s incredible” to see his dreams being realised through his son Benjamin who serves off as Zimbabwe’s number two seed this morning at Harare Sports Club.

Ranked 1205 in the world, Benjamin gets off the mark aiming for a big upset against world number 89 Bosnian first seed Damir Dzumhur.

He will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of his father who scaled dizzy heights in the late 1980s to help put Zimbabwean tennis on the world map.

In that golden generation, Lock senior partnered such players as Byron Black, Greg Rodger, Orlando Lourenco, Graham Martin and Malcolm Birch as Zimbabwe rose to become one of the most feared tennis-playing nations in Africa.

Although Zimbabwe are no longer the powerhouse they used to be, a crop of red-hot young talent has given hope that the nation can roll back the years and reclaim its rightful place at the top of the world game.

“This is something you dream of and to have it happen in reality it’s something absolutely fantastic,” Martin says of his son.

“But more importantly, I am happy we are here representing the nation. This is what we love. This is what we yearn for. I’m sure the crowd will come to support. They play a big role in helping our team.”

Interestingly, as a 34-year-old, Martin won the Zimbabwe Open in 1993 the same year he gave Zimbabwe one of its brightest tennis prospects in blonde-haired baby boy Benjamin.

Seventeen years later, Benjamin would follow in his dad’s footsteps to become a Zimbabwe Open champion before earning a place in the Zimbabwe Davis Cup team.

They are probably the only father-son combination to both win the country’s premier tennis tournament.

“It’s incredible,” Martin says of the sensational events.

To which his son retorts.

“It’s still early to tell if I will do better than him. There is still a long way to go.

“But it’s been an awesome experience so far. It’s been a lot of fun. We have been practicing hard. There is no pressure at all,” says the Florida State University based tennis ace.

Lock senior is currently vice president of Tennis Zimbabwe (TZ) which has been working around the clock to get the country ready for the 2015 Euro-Africa Zone Group II Davis Cup tie.

“You can see the development that has taken place. Hosting it here, we now have a court and a facility for the future.  We are at a different level now,” Martin says.

“It’s fantastic, but we couldn’t have done this without sponsorship. NetOne have been incredible.”

TZ had earlier projected they would need $100 000 to fulfil all the financial requirements of hosting the tie.

Unfortunately that amount fell short and Martin insists they “are probably going to be tight” on expenditure.

He, however, ensured, TZ is incentivising the Zimbabwe tennis players “as best as they can.”

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