Kevin Anderson became the lowest ranked player to reach the US Open finals, after beating Pablo Carreno Busta in four sets in the semis. It’s possibly one of the best stories we’ve had in men’s tennis for a long, long time now. Going in to the tournament, Anderson was not even a dark horse. A quarter-final showing would have been a great result for him, but then, in sport, miracles happen.
And we don’t want the dream to stop. We want Kevin to win the trophy. It’s not likely that he’ll get more chances. Prior to this, he hasn’t even won a Masters 1000 title and has only three championship trophies to show for the time he has spent on the ATP tour. That said, his game is extremely threatening. He is tall, and can serve consecutive aces to make his serve incredibly difficult to break. He has started to scream and shout more often in matches – the C’mons are getting louder. This tactic has certainly helped him. His weakness could be the fact that sometimes he gets very nervous, especially on big points.
So while Rafael Nadal will have the experience of playing big matches on his side, Anderson’s ‘nothing to lose’ attitude should hold him in good stead. If Kevin manages to pull off a few challenging forehands down the line, it’s bound to make the French Open champion a little tentative. Also, it’s very important for Kevin to have a great first serve percentage. Without these two things, he’s got no chance. Also, Rafa needs to have a bad game.
“Height is a funny thing in tennis because it definitely helps the serve but it can hinder agility and movement. I think I have to spend a lot more time working on movement and flexibility than some of my shorter colleagues. That being said though, a tall person can improve upon those weaknesses with hard work, while a shorter person can never gain the advantages of a taller serve. In that respect, I think I’m very lucky to have such tall genes!,” he had said in an old interview, speaking about his 6′ 8” frame.
Other than being part of the tour, Kevin also has an online tennis instruction site called Relifetennis.com. Over here, he shares drills and exercises for upcoming tennis players to up their game. With a win at the US Open, he’ll obviously become a lot more famous and this new legion of fans will only help the growth of Tennis in South Africa. Or even Africa, where not a lot of top Tennis players come from.
Fingers crossed, popcorn ready, we’re geared up for some terrific late night action on our TVs. A five-setter would be perfect, even if that means three extra cups of coffee at work tomorrow.