LONDON - Kevin Anderson, the big South African who winds down from tennis by reaching for his guitar, admits he needs to be right on key from the start of his Wimbledon quarter-final against eight-time champion Roger Federer on Wednesday.
The odds are stacked against Anderson who will be playing in his first last-eight match at the All England Club while Federer is in his 16th. He has also lost all four meetings against the 20-time major winner, failing to win a set off the great Swiss star.
When asked what he admired about defending champion Federer, the 32-year-old Anderson was happy to reel off an exhaustive check-list. "His consistency, the way he plays such great tennis week in and week out," said Anderson.
"Just the way he moves, the way he conducts himself on the court is very impressive. Everything looks so easy, so fluid. The variety he brings to the court. The use of the slice backhand. The use of his attacking forehand. His defence. He's really got the complete package."
Anderson added that Federer, who won his first Wimbledon title in 2003, is the perfect role model for the sport -- and for those players in the chasing pack. "The expectations he's had to deal with for over a decade, 15 years, I mean, at the top of the game, he's able to deal with it so well, which isn't easy."
It’s an amazing feeling to reach my first quarterfinal at #Wimbledon. Thanks to everyone for your nice messages and support. I’m ready to keep the hard work going and looking forward to the next one 😊 pic.twitter.com/86NItok5pC
If Anderson is to shock Federer, who has only lost once before the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 15 years, he will need to call up the heavy artillery which has served him well at the tournament this year. He has sent down 96 aces in four rounds and dropped serve just six times. Anderson is also fourth on the fastest serve chart with a top speed of 140 mph (225.3km/h).
However, Federer has held all of his 55 service games this year and last dropped serve in the semi-finals in 2017 -- 81 service games ago. The 36-year-old is also on a streak of 32 consecutive sets won at the tournament, just two off his record.
"I feel like a lot of aspects of my game can give him a lot of trouble," said Anderson, the first South African man in the Wimbledon quarter-finals since Wayne Ferreira in 1994. "I'm a big player, big serve. I'm going to have to really take it to him. Also at the same time try to treat it like another tennis match. Only my second time out on Centre Court. He's played there a few more times than that. The more I can just treat it like another tennis match, the better for me."