AUSTRALIA: Freak accident forces Zim’s Benjamin Lock to pull out of tournament
Benjamin Lock, the highest-ranked men’s tennis player from Zimbabwe, did not expect his stay at the Challenger Tour tournament in Playford, Australia, to end before he even took to the court.
Ahead of the tournament’s commencement, Lock was at a practice court to warm up and briefly sat in his chair during a hitting session. Out of nowhere, a racket came flying at him and hit him on the head.
The racket belonged to Li Tu of Australia, who lost control of his racket while returning a shot and it flew out of his hand.
The video of the incident was shared on X (formerly Twitter) by a user named Michał Pochopień, who also shared details regarding the incident.
Lock was in pain and tightly held the spot where the racket had hit him. Tu and other players and coaches quickly rushed to his assistance. The Zimbabwean was unfortunately forced to withdraw from the tournament altogether after the injury.
Benjamin Lock was set to face Chak Lam Coleman Wong of Hong Kong in the first round of the Playford Challenger 2 on October 25. He was later replaced by Ajeet Rai of New Zealand.
The Playford Challenger is a Category 75 tournament that awards $80,000 as prize money to the winner. Thanasi Kokkinakis and Rinky Hijikata are the top two seeds this year.
A look into Benjamin Lock’s career
Benjamin Lock has been a flag-bearer for Zimbabwean men’s tennis for several years now. After turning professional in 2016, Lock has become a fixture on the Challenger and ITF circuits. The 30-year-old has won 10 ITF singles titles and 35 ITF doubles titles.
On the Challenger Tour, Lock won his first doubles title at the 2020 Launceston International alongside partner Evan King of the US. On the singles circuit, his first Challenger-level final came this year in July as he played the title contest at the Medellin Challenger in Colombia. He lost in the final to Patrick Kypson of the US.
Lock, currently ranked World No. 231, made his ATP Tour debut at the 2023 Chengdu Open in China as a qualifier. In his maiden tour match, he faced No. 7 seed Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia, who convincingly won the contest 6-2, 6-3.
Lock also represents Zimbabwe at the Davis Cup and holds a win-loss record of 30-12. He achieved his career-high ranking of World No. 175 in 2018.