Kevin Anderson Predicts An ‘Interesting’ Year Ahead As He Aims To Build On US Open Run

Kevin Anderson (zimbio.com)

Kevin Anderson believes the big names in tennis will continue to experience stiff opposition from their rivals throughout 2018.

The 31-year-old out faced Rafael Nadal in the final of the US Open on Sunday, losing in straight sets to the Spaniard. Anderson’s fairy tale route to his maiden grand slam final occurred at a time when two of the big four are out due to injury, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. The US Open emulated other tournaments this season with the rise of the lesser known figures. Even though, the winner was the favourite. The pattern could be a sign of things to come, according to Anderson.

“It will be very interesting.” He said about the upcoming 2018 season. “I think this year there has been a lot of guys stepping up and attaining results that haven’t been in the past. I think you can take a lot of confidence in those successes.”

Still, there are two household names that have dominated the grand slams this year. Roger Federer and Nadal have won all of the major tournaments between them for the first time since 2010. The dominance of the two has been hailed by Anderson, who is yet to defeat either player on the tour.

“I think they have so many skills they can rely on. In addition to that is just the amount of experience they have had. Playing at this level I think they feel very comfortable, and obviously they might get nervous, but just like anything, the more you do it, the more used to it you get.” The 31-year-old explained about his two rivals.
“Looking at Rafa, he’s just such a great competitor. He really makes you earn every single point. Roger, he can really take the matches out of your hands. So it’s been a very interesting year on the Grand Slam front. Certainly will be very interesting to see what happens next year, as well.”

Regardless of what happens next year, the South African is hoping that he will be one of the players challenging for the big titles. Less than 12 months ago the injury-hit player was contemplating surgery to treat his troublesome hip. A series of injuries had halter Anderson’s progression on the tour with him slipping down to as low as 80th at the start of 2017.

Top 10 within sight

Anderson has risen to 15th in the world following his New York run. His highest position since February 2016. He is now within sights of re-entering the top ten once again. So far in his career, he has only spent one week in the world’s top 10.

“The target of getting back to 10 is something I set myself a little while ago,” Anderson said. “Got off to a bit of a tough start beginning of the year, but especially this summer I’ve really put myself in a good position.
“When I’m taking care of the stuff I need to, the ranking will take care of itself. It’s great to see the jump I’ve made and the spots I have been able to climb, something I can be very proud of.”

Despite the recent surge, there is still room for improvement. Against Nadal, he failed to get a single break point opportunity and produced a costly 40 unforced errors. Allowing the top seed to dominate proceedings.

“I think there are a few lessons I learned again against him that I needed to do differently if I play him again. I needed to execute them a bit better.” The South African concluded.

The 31-year-old will return to action next month at the Japan Open in Tokyo.

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