Kevin Anderson reaches career-high ranking of world No 9
SA’s Kevin Anderson moved to a career ranking of No 9 after winning the ATP New York event against old adversary Sam Querrey on Sunday.
In the open era the only other South Africans to have been ranked higher are Johan Kriek (No 7)‚ Kevin Curran (No 5) and Wayne Ferreira (No 6).
Anderson himself reached the top 10 for a week in 2015‚ but this victory underlines his massive improvement in the past six months.
Anderson and Querrey have now played 16 times on tour and have each won eight matches.
In 2017 Anderson reached Wimbledon’s fourth round where he lost to Querrey‚ before making the US Open final‚ beating Querrey in the quarters.
He ultimately lost in straight sets to Rafael Nadal in the final at Flushing Meadows.
Anderson returned to New York last week‚ this time to Long Island‚ for the ATP 250 event and walked away with a win and R1.55m in prize money.
It took his season’s earnings to R2.75m. Last year he won R36.6m on tour‚ thanks largely to his US Open run.
In Long Island Anderson beat Querrey 4-6 6-3 7-6 (1) in the final after overcoming former world No 4 Kei Nishikori in three sets in the semifinals.
"Tennis is a tough sport.
"You play three‚ four‚ five matches sometimes to get to the final and if it doesn’t go your way‚ it’s pretty tough to deal with even though you’ve had a great week‚" Anderson said after winning.
"I’ve been to quite a few finals. It really means a lot to me to get through today."
Anderson has played in three ATP finals in the past year and lost all of them‚ so winning in New York was a big mental hurdle to clear for the man who aims to qualify for the year-ending World Championships in London come November.
Anderson split with longtime South African coach Neville Godwin in 2017 and both appear to be flourishing in new partnerships.
Godwin has started coaching Korea’s Hyeon Chung. Under his tutelage the 21-year-old Asian player made it to the Australian Open semifinals in January before withdrawing in the biggest match of his life against eventual winner Roger Federer.
Anderson‚ 31‚ has teamed up with experienced coach Brad Stine. The American previously helped Jim Courier reach No 1.
"Kevin is probably the most focused‚ intense‚ professional person I’ve been around since Jim Courier‚" Stine told ATP World Tour.
"What he demands from himself and what he expects from his team when he’s at the office‚ inside the fences training for his tennis‚ is very high. I’ve really enjoyed that‚ actually. That intensity level and that demand‚ it’s great."
Despite Anderson’s recent good form‚ he did lose in the Australian Open first round to eventual semifinalist Kyle Edmund. It was a blow considering he went into the tournament with high expectations‚ but he has been able to put the disappointment behind him and kick on.
"One of the things that I was really impressed with Kevin after the [Edmund] match‚ not having known him … was his level of maturity and how he dealt with those losses‚" Stine said.
"Just sitting down and analysing the situations. What were the positives and what were the negatives? What were the things that we need to learn from and improve on?"