MONACO - Roger Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam winner and world number one, believes that South African tennis star Kevin Anderson can become a Grand Slam winner.
Federer, who won a record 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open earlier this year, says that Anderson’s loss in the final of last year’s US Open would have unlocked the belief that he could finally win a major tournament.
“I think the US Open might have unlocked a lot of things for Kevin in his head and in his game that maybe before he wasn’t sure he could achieve that kind of a level. I was very happy for him,” Federer said in Monaco, where he claimed the World Sportsman of the Year and Comeback of the Year Awards at the Laureus Sports Awards on Tuesday night.
South Africa’s last men’s single Grand Slam winner was Johan Kriek in 1982 when he won his second and back-to-back titles at the Australian Open while South African born Kevin Curren had been the last to feature in a Grand Slam final at Wimbledon in 1985.
Federer, whose mother Lynette is South African, is confident that world number eight Anderson has the right attitude and desire to go on and win Grand Slams but he will need to remain injury free and work harder because of the amount of talented players on the circuit.
“I think he is a great player. He had a slow start at the Australian Open. I don’t know what the reason was for that if he ran into a tough first and second round. But I think the draws are opening up a little bit with all the injuries we are seeing in the game of tennis at the moment,” added Federer.
"I like his attitude and fighting attitude. He is going to go out swinging and trying his absolute best. And then good things can happen absolutely but there is clearly other few guys in the game that have more potential than him to win the Slams."