Enjoying time off: Tennis pro Ben McLachlan


Queenstown tennis pro Ben McLachlan admits he’s not overly happy with how his year’s  gone, even though his world doubles ranking’s shot up to 36.

On a well-earned break at home, the 29-year-old, who teamed up again with South African veteran Raven Klaasen, feels the main problem is he wasn’t able to pop home, as he usually does, due to Covid quarantine restrictions.

‘‘I think I played a little bit too much, and didn’t schedule enough breaks.’’

Fortunately, his fiancee and fit ness coach, Arrowtowner Georgia Brown, joined him on tour from April onwards.

McLachlan had a difficult start to the year when Klaasen pulled out after catching Covid, and he and the latter’s replacement didn’t go well.

However, when Klaasen returned, the pair got on a roll, making semis in Chile, Portugal and Switzerland and the quarters at Wimbledon before finally win ning in Washington, DC, in the United States, in August — their second win after triumphing in their first tourney together in Germany last October.

Other times, though, they didn’t get past the first round — ‘‘it doesn’t give you a chance to get the train rolling’’, McLachlan says.

Having switched allegiance to Japan in 2017, thanks to his mum’s nationality, a highlight  was representing Japan at the Olympics in his adopted home country.

Teaming up with superstar Kei Nishikori, the pair reached the quarter-finals before losing to the no.1-ranked Croatian pairing.

McLachlan enjoyed his first Olympics but says it was ‘‘a bummer’’ he couldn’t visit any other events due to Covid restrictions.

He says restrictions eased as the year went on, apart from pre-tournament testing.

The worst experience was in Singapore — ‘‘we couldn’t even leave our hotel room without a
security guard’’.

McLachlan says he’s put no end date on a career now spanning seven years.

‘‘I want to just keep playing until I stop enjoying it.

‘‘And I definitely don’t feel like I’ve reached my max potential yet, so I feel like I want to really give it a crack until I feel like I’ve hit my peak, and then decide after that.’’

And he’s still on the young side, he says — Klaasen, for example, turns 40 next year.

‘‘There’s actually a lot of old guys out there, his age and older, especially in doubles.’’

McLachlan’s heading to Australia on December 31 and playing a couple of warm-up tourneys before the Aussie Open.

He’s hoping his brother/coach Riki can also join him after coaching him remotely this year.