Kevin Anderson

Born: May 18, 1986 in Johannesburg (Gauteng)
Height: 2.03 m
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
When I first witnessed Anderson play in the third round of Miami ’08, I never would have anticipated that he would become a two-time Grand Slam finalist. Watching his match against Igor Andreev, I was intrigued by the player who had ousted Novak Đoković in the previous round. However, my initial impression was somewhat disappointing; despite his towering two-meter height, Anderson’s serve seemed surprisingly average. In a gruelling three-setter that Andreev ultimately won 6-4, 6-7, 6-4, Anderson managed to fire just two aces, leaving me puzzled. Little did I know, ten years later, that the South African giant would go on to consistently deliver +/- thirty aces in many matches.
Anderson’s astonishing progress over a decade was truly commendable. He stands out as one of the few players who maximized his career potential to the fullest. Demonstrating improvement in every aspect of his game, Anderson’s evolution was nothing short of remarkable. While he was typically reserved in displaying emotions on the court, it appears he recognized the value in doing so to enhance his chances of winning crucial matches. During the US Open ’17, his exceptional display of emotion, marked by fist-pumps after every point won, seemed to propel him through challenging encounters in the quarterfinal and semifinal, where he faced opponents in evenly matched battles. This positive, affirmative attitude likely played a significant role in his victories over Sam Querrey and Pablo Carreño, ultimately leading him to his first major final at the age of 31, without any significant titles to his name. Anderson showcased his immense potential in New York two years prior when he had defeated Andy Murray after enduring one of the longest four-set matches in tournament history.
However, Anderson’s ascent didn’t stop there. The following season, during the most prestigious tournament, he achieved something unprecedented. He triumphed in two epic deciding fifth sets in back-to-back matches, a feat no one had accomplished before him and may not be replicated in the future. First, he saved a match point against Roger Federer before prevailing 13-11 in the deciding set, followed by an extraordinary 6-hour 36-minute battle against John Isner, which he clinched 26-24 in the decider. [Anderson’s marathon match against Isner at Wimbledon persuaded officials to revise the rules regarding the deciding set. As a result, the following year saw the introduction of a peculiar tie-break format at 12-all.] This historic victory propelled him to the second position in the history of South African tennis, behind only Johan Kriek (two-time Australian Open champion) and ahead of Kevin Curren and Wayne Ferreira. The comparison between two Kevins remains a topic of debate actually… Anderson was dispatched in both of his major finals (US Open & Wimbledon), but in both occasions he had nothing to be ashamed of as he faced the greatest players.
As a curious piece of trivia, Anderson remarkably lost all twelve matches he played against Tomáš Berdych, with only three of those matches reaching deciding sets (one of them – Paris ’14 – I statistically covered). Anderson kicked off the year 2019 in stellar fashion, securing victory in Pune. However, his momentum was abruptly halted by elbow & knee injuries that kept him sidelined for six months. Upon his return to competition, he found himself ranked outside the Top 100 and struggled to recapture his previous form. After enduring two seasons that fell far below expectations, the 36-year-old Anderson made the decision to retire in May ’22. However, one year later, he made a brief return, participating in two events – Newport and Washington – in what could be described as a ‘cameo’ appearance.
Career record: 356-255 [ 258 events ]
Career titles: 7
Highest ranking: No. 5
Best GS results:
Wimbledon (runner-up 2018)
US Open (runner-up 2017; quarterfinal 2015)
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1 Response to Kevin Anderson

  1. Voo de Mar says:
    Activity: 2007 – 2023

    Five-setters: 17–11 (60%)
    Tie-breaks: 219–182 (54%)
    Deciding 3rd set TB: 24-16 (60%)

    MP matches: 15-9
    Defeats by retirement: 8
    Walkovers given: 0

    Longest victory: Wimbledon ’18 (SF)… John Isner 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 26-24… 6 hours 36 minutes
    Longest defeat: Wimbledon ’10 (1R)… Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 7-6, 6-7, 5-7, 7-9… 4 hours 13 minutes

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