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Christian Harrison to Play in Ryan Harrison Invitational - Tuesday, October 2, 2012

One Harrison Brother Moving Up In The Rankings

Christian Harrison, young pro tennis player, 18, while looking over the men’s professional tennis rankings finds his 20-year-old brother Ryan, one of America's top young hopes, at No. 54.

"You can't think about rankings and points when you are playing," Christian Harrison says. "Some guys do but it is never a good thing because it can mess with your mind if you are counting points."

If Christian Harrison were to glance at the rankings this week, he would see his name at No. 468. That number may be a long way from No. 1 but it's pretty impressive for an 18-year-old who has missed nearly two years of tournaments because of a series of unfortunate injuries.

Harrison is planning on continuing his ascent toward one of the best tennis players and there are a lot of people counting on him to do that!

"Hopefully I will move up more. I don't want to stay there," he said recently just before hitting the courts at IMG Academy for a daily practice session under the hot Florida sun.

Harrison’s appetite for the professional game is growing and now that he is finally healthy he is making noise at USTA pro Challenger and Futures events.

Harrison reached the semifinals of a Challenger event in July in just his second tournament on that tour. Last month he advanced to the semifinals of a Futures event in Canada.

"This is the healthiest and strongest I have felt in maybe forever," Christian Harrison said.

It is certainly the healthiest he has been since the Harrison family moved to Bradenton four years ago. It was at that time that Christian began dealing with a litany of injuries, initially hamstring troubles.

After reinjuring the hamstring several times, doctors found an infection in his upper leg and he had to undergo surgery. A variety of other problems followed and Harrison missed essentially two years of tournaments.

The two Harrison brothers have played and practiced together virtually their entire lives, introduced to the sport by their father, Pat, who has also played tennis all his life.

Pat Harrison, the son of a tennis coach, played at Oklahoma State and kicked around for a while on the tennis satellite circuits before he married and began teaching tennis. He ran a club in Louisiana, He now coaches at the IMG Academy Bollettieri Tennis Program and directs the progress of his two sons.

"They are very similar athletically," Pat Harrison says." Ryan is a great athlete who is trying to become a great tennis player. Christian is trying to go down that same road."

Christian may not yet have the size of many of the players in today's tennis, but might have the advantage of watching along the way as Ryan adjusted to the pro game.

But there was also always a dream of playing together on tennis' biggest stage and that came true at the U.S. Open this year when they played together in the men's doubles draw.

The only other time they have played a pro tournament together came at the 2011 Sarasota Open on Longboat Key, where they won a round at the USTA Pro Circuit event.

Pat Harrison, who coaches both sons, believes that what Christian needs most now is experience.

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