at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Johannesburg – A disconcerting slump in form followed by an absence of two weeks from the ATP circuit after his bright start to the year does not pose major problems for South Africa's 19th world-ranked Kevin Anderson.
This was the view expressed by Anderson's coach, Neville Godwin, from the player's training base in the United States on Monday.
After reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open in January and following this noteworthy achievement by reaching the finals of the Daytona and Mexican Opens, Anderson has experienced a downward slide.
Initially winning only one game in both the Indian Wells and Miami Masters tournaments and then losing his opening matches at both the Casablanca Open and Monte Carlo Open.
These setbacks have been followed by Anderson's two-week absence from ATP tournaments in Barcelona and Portugal, raising speculation that he might be suffering from an injury of some sort or another.
Godwin confirmed that Anderson had no fitness problems and would be returning to the ATP circuit next week for the major Masters 1000-points tournament in Madrid, as well as the Italian Open in Rome a week later.
“We felt in the circumstances that two weeks of intensive training and taking stock would be the best way forward and I must say that Kevin is hitting the ball as well as ever,” said Godwin, a former South African Davis Cup player.
Godwin said with the ATP circuit now having switched to claycourt competition, culminating in the grand slam French Open in Paris towards the end of May, emphasis had been placed on strategy for this surface in training procedures.
“Clay courts are not Kevin's most familiar surface but he showed last year in both a successful French Open and while reaching the final of the Casablanca Open that he has the armoury to adapt to playing successfully on clay.”
Anderson's straight sets defeats in his only two claycourt matches this year against the talented Gail Monfils and the moderately 50th-ranked Victor Hunescu would seem to bode a degree of concern.
“We are looking for good results in Madrid and Rome from a refreshed Kevin to set him on course for holding onto his current ranking and going a step further during the remainder of the year,” Godwin said.
The forthcoming two Masters events could well be something of a revealing watershed for Anderson's 2014 prospects. – Sapa