Christian Harrison into
Delray semis after eight surgeries
Arthur Kapetanakis | January 12, 2021
He’s the ATP’s No. 789-ranked man. He’s undergone eight surgeries in his young career. And now, for the first time, 26-year-old Christian Harrison is an ATP Tour semifinalist.
The American qualifier—the younger brother of Ryan Harrison, with whom he’s advanced to Tuesday’s doubles semifinals—has notched three main-draw singles wins to reach the final four of the ATP 250 event in Delray Beach, Florida. Those three victories more than double his career win total in ATP main-draw play, improving his lifetime mark to 5-6.
In just the seventh main-draw appearance of his career, a healthy Harrison knocked off top seed Cristian Garin, 7-6, 6-2, in the Round of 16 before handling Italy’s Gianluca Mager, 7-6, 6-4, in his first career ATP quarterfinal. The win over world No. 22 Garin was the first Top-25 win of Harrison’s career.ADVERTISEMENT
“I’m close to 100 percent,” he said in an interview with the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com, the only issue being chronic issues as a result of the repeated surgeries, including on both legs, both hips and his dominant right wrist. “As close to it as I’ve ever been since I was a teenager, pre-surgery.”
Harrison credited a productive training block during the COVID-19 suspension for his current run of form. He has learned to adapt his training schedule, leaning more into off-court work to keep his body fresh.
“I had to change my playing habits to where I was practicing less on the court, but I know I can practice every day,” he explained. “It allowed me to get consistency, to not be playing through injuries.”
Harrison is coached by his father, Pat, who helped guide Danielle Collins’ to the Australian Open semis in 2019. Being part of a tennis family has helped the Bradenton, Florida, native persevere through his injury troubles.
“I never wanted to try anything new because I love tennis so much,” he said.
It’s all helped him develop a process-oriented approach to the game, taking off some of the pressure he felt before in his injury-limited playing opportunities.
“For a while it was even harder,” he reflected. “When I would miss time, I would think about how I had to make up time… I was putting all this pressure on myself, knowing I wouldn’t be able to play a full season.”
But Harrison entered 2021 with more of a long-term view, and it’s been paying off so far in South Florida.
“Right now, I want to just keep playing and keep practicing and try to make a good career for myself. As long as I love what I’m doing, I feel like I’m always going to have that internal motivation.”
Harrison will face his second seeded opponent of the week on Tuesday, when he faces No. 4 seed and world No. 35 Hubert Hurkacz or Poland. It could be an all-American final, as fellow Bradenton resident Sebastian Korda faces Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the opposite semifinal.
Harrison and brother Ryan are also competing in the doubles semis on Thursday, with compatriots Tommy Paul and Mackenzie McDonald also still standing in the opposite half of the draw. The brothers reached the US Open quarterfinals in 2012.