Inside the world of Kevin Anderson
Team World has many reasons to be excited about its latest recruit – big-serving world No.5 Kevin Anderson.
Anderson has reached great heights in the past year – aside from becoming the tallest Grand Slam finalist in history.
With his run to the US Open final in 2017, the 203-centimeter Anderson also became the lowest-ranked finalist in tournament history at world No.32.
Earlier this month Anderson reached the Wimbledon final, becoming the first South African man to make that stage in 97 years. His semifinal victory over American John Isner was the second longest Grand Slam match in history, taking almost seven hours and ending 26-24 in the fifth set.
The 32-year-old is playing the best tennis of his career and looms as a key to Team World’s hopes of winning a first Laver Cup in Chicago in September. What makes the likeable, Florida-based Anderson such an an appealing recruit for Team World captain John McEnroe’s 2018 Laver Cup campaign?
He loved the game from a young age
Anderson began playing when he was six, starting with a string and an old tennis ball he would hit around with his brother Greg. “Mike (their father) had to literally pick them up off the court as each brother wanted to hit the last winning shot,” their mother Barbara recalled.
A trailblazer for his country
Anderson is now the highest-ranked South African man in history, currently sitting at a career-high of No.5. “I’m incredibly proud of that achievement,” said Anderson, whose ranking slipped to No.80 in January 2017 after an injury-interrupted 2016 season. “It’s not easy coming from South Africa, it’s very far from the tennis scene.”
Self-confessed adrenaline junkie
Don’t be fooled by Anderson’s measured on-court persona. From outdoor adventures to racing sports cars, Anderson likes to live life on the edge. He also plays the guitar and loves British rock band Dire Straits.
“I’m just always looking at learning,” Anderson noted during his recent Wimbledon run. “I feel like that’s probably one of my biggest strengths, my ability to sort of keep at it, keep my head up. It’s not easy at times. That’s what I just keep on doing.” As a junior he used to practice footwork and shadow strokes in front of the mirror – a technique he admits he still uses.
I’m just always looking at learning – Kevin Anderson
Anderson’s rescued Chiweenie (a Chihuahua-Dachshund cross) travels the tour with him. The dog, named Lady Kady Anderson, even has its own Instagram account with over 3000 followers. @ladykadyanderson
Strong work ethic
“I don’t feel like there’s massive secrets. I work really hard. I have good goals,” explained Anderson of his career-best form. “As players, you always look to evolve. I feel like some of my best tennis is still ahead of me. Looking at my game, I think there is still areas I can do better to improve both physically, mentally and emotionally.”
He thrives on American hardcourts
The Florida-based Anderson has won three of his four ATP titles on American hardcourts and posted his best Grand Slam results at the US Open. He played college tennis at the University of Illinois before turning pro, earning all-American honors for three consecutive years. Anderson, whose wife is American, is currently applying for citizenship.
Anderson and the Laver Cup
Anderson is looking forward to ‘coming home’ to Chicago for the Laver Cup.
“I’m incredibly excited about playing the Laver Cup in Chicago this year, and to be playing with such a high quality group of guys in just the second event is really a huge honor for me,” Anderson said.
I watched the event last year and thought it was wonderful and I can’t wait to join our captain, John McEnroe, who is a legend of the game of tennis. – Kevin Anderson
“I watched the event last year and thought it was wonderful and I can’t wait to join our captain, John McEnroe, who is a legend of the game of tennis, and the rest of our team – it’s an amazing opportunity.
“It will be great to have John Isner on my side as a teammate instead of having to face him on the other side of the net. Our very long Wimbledon semifinal was definitely memorable but it’s not an experience I’m keen to repeat anytime soon!”