Benjamin Lock praises Zim fans

HARARE - Zimbabwe's  Davis Cup top seed Benjamin Lock has praised local fans for the support they gave to the side during the Euro/Africa Group II tie against Turkey at Harare Sports Club over the weekend.

The hosts progressed to the second round after beating the Europeans 3-1 and will now meet Poland, who beat Slovenia 3-2 in their first round tie.

Lock won his match against Turkey’s second seed Altug Celikbilek 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 while Takanyi Garanganga beat Cem Ilkel 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday.

Lock and Garanganga secured the tie when they teamed up in the doubles on Sunday to beat Turkey’s pair of Tuna Altuna and Ilkel 7-5, 6-3.

Mehluli Sibanda lost the dead rubber match to Sarp Agabigan 5-7, 6-4 but Lock and Garanganga had already taken care of business.

However, Lock was humbled by the manner in which the home crowd stayed behind the team at crucial moments during the tie.

Even when it rained, the partisan home supporters braved the chilly weather to remain at the venue and rally behind the team.

“I had so much fun out there and I’m glad we could get a win for Zimbabwe to progress to the next round,” Lock said of the victory and praised the fans for staying behind despite the rain.  

“We had a rain delay but they all came back. For me that was amazing and it showed that they really cared about supporting their teams and country.

“Our message to them is that you guys don’t understand how much of an impact you can make on a tie like this.

“We could not have done it without you so I just want to say thanks to the whole of Zimbabwe for following us this whole week. It’s been one of the best weekends of my life and it was unbelievable.”

Garanganga was pleased that the team was able to meet the fans’ demands for a home win.

“Everyone was asking us about the expectation of winning but at the end of the day we just wanted to win. I really don’t look at it like whether we won 3-0 or 3-2. We just want to win and we don’t really care how it comes about,” Garanganga said.

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