My goal is to win the tournament, says Kevin Anderson ahead of US Open
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JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s Kevin Anderson says he still has the belief to win a Grand Slam tournament ahead of the US Open which begins in New York next week.
The former world number five has battled with various injuries over the last two years, which saw his ranking fall as low as 146th in the world at the beginning of 2020. The 35-year-old, however, has seen a resurgence in his game, and importantly his fitness, which culminated with his sixth ATP title at the Hall of Fame Open in Newport last month.
With an improved ranking of 75th in the world, he is ready to work his way back to the top.
“My goal is to win the tournament. That’s the reason I’m going there,” said Anderson.
“I know on paper I’m not seeded, but fortunately the belief I have in myself isn’t represented in that. It’s a challenge, but one that I’m willing to take on.”
With a booming serve up there with the best in the game at the moment, Anderson is known to produce strong results when he is healthy, but the physically demanding nature of the sport has meant staying injury-free is the key to his success.
“It’s been tough the last couple years, as I’ve gotten older it comes with the territory of an incredibly repetitive sport, and individual sport. You have to be at your best to have the results you want. Over the last sort of two or three months, things have been getting better. I think it was especially challenging when I was picking up these unexpected injuries.”
Anderson had long held the number one SA tennis ranking, but has been overtaken by 24-year-old Lloyd Harris who is constantly improving to find himself 46th in the ATP rankings.
Despite now being one of the older players out on tour, Anderson insists he still has plenty left in the tank.
“There’s only a couple of people older than me in the top-100. But even Roger [Federer] at my age won a couple of Grand Slams, and [Rafael] Nadal and [Novak] Djokovic are only a couple of years younger than me.
“Most of my motivation comes from within, and what I’m capable of achieving and how my body is feeling. As long as I have an opportunity, this is what I want to do. It’s been very challenging the last few years with injuries, and fortunately recently things have been going better for me.”
Any player who has battled injury, especially in the twilight of your career might constantly live in fear that the next setback is around the corner. Anderson, however, has found a way to navigate that mental battle.
“It’s a challenge to put those injuries out of your mind and it’s something you have to come to terms with. All I can do is take care of the things I can control, and know a few unexpected things will happen. As long as I put in the work to stay healthy and competitive, that gives me confidence. Playing seven matches to win a Grand Slam is not easy, but I’m optimistic.” - African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Michael Sherman