The tennis world will tonight witness the return of former world number one Novak Djokovic to competitive action as he begins his quest for an unprecedented sixth BNP Paribas Open title next week in Indian Wells, California.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The 12-time grand slam champion has been sidelined since the Australian Open in January due to an elbow injury and he underwent a “small medical intervention” last month.
What many may not know is that in the build-up to the popular hardcourt tournament, Djokovic spent some time training with Zimbabwe’s own Courtney Lock at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).
Lock spent two days hitting balls with Djokovic and his equally famous coaching staff comprising of eight-time gram slam champion Andre Agassi and former top-10 player Radek Stepanek.
“Incredible couple of days training with @DjokerNole and his team! Extremely grateful to play with such greats of the game @AndreAgassi,” an ecstatic Lock posted on his Twitter account, accompanied by a picture of him with Djokovic, Agassi and Stepanek.
The 21-year-old Zimbabwe Davis Cup team player, who is the younger brother of professional tennis player Benjamin Lock, later spoke of his delight at rubbing shoulders with the successful trio in an interview with Standardsport.
“It was an incredible experience to play with Novak and his team. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest players ever so it was a great privilege,” said the Zimbabwean, who idolises the Serbian star.
Lock, who is on a tennis scholarship at UNLV, also revealed how the opportunity to train with the star trio came about and how it has inspired him ahead of his upcoming matches.
“He came to Las Vegas to work with Andre [Agassi] and Andre got in contact with my college coach for practice on the weekend. It’s one of the perks of being at UNLV in such a popular part of the United States and I am very fortunate to have been around Novak, Andre and Radek this weekend [last weekend]. It gave me a ton of inspiration for my upcoming matches,” he said.
Lock, who has reached a career high ATP singles ranking of 1 571 and 590 in doubles, won his first Davis Cup match in a 2015 Davis Cup tie against Moldova.
He also participates in doubles alongside his brother Benjamin and the duo have won two doubles titles on the ITF professional circuit together.