Andrew Harris has vowed to play with freedom when he makes his Australian Open debut at Melbourne Park on Monday.
Harris admitted he was experiencing a mixture of emotions as he prepares to play his home grand slam for the first time.
“I’m really excited but also anxious,” Harris told emageogroup.com “It’s my hometown – Melbourne.
“I have a lot of family, a lot of friends coming to watch me so that will be cool, but it’s just a combination of excitement and nerves.”
Harris has been drawn against world No.8 and 2019 US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini in the opening round.
The pair have never met before, with the Italian making a rapid rise up the rankings last year.
“He’s a very good player, top-10 in the world,” Harris said. “He’s got a massive serve and a big forehand so it will be a tough one, but I’ve just got to go out there and just play free and there’s nothing to lose really.
“It’s going to be an electric atmosphere, that’s for sure. I’m sure the home crowd will be cheering pretty hard for me. I’ve never experienced anything like that but I’m really excited to see what it’s like and just go and have fun out there.”
Harris, 25, has had the ultimate preparation after spending time on court with world No.1 Rafael Nadal on Thursday.
“I had two hours with him on Rod Laver (Arena) and that was really good,” he said. “It was just good to hit with such a good player, but also feeling comfortable in that setting.
“I was a bit nervous to start but I actually got going and hit the ball really well. I played a set and a half with him and it was a really good experience. He is really intense. He goes big and is very physical so after two hours I was definitely feeling it. Every ball, every point is really tough.”
Harris said the experience had given him plenty of confidence ahead of his first major.
“I’m glad I did that,” he said. “It definitely makes me feel a bit more comfortable going out against another top-10 player, having that experience of training with Rafa. Hopefully it just helps me stay calm and be free when I go out there on Monday.
“The body is feeling really good, I’m feeling healthy and ready to go.”