On behalf of TSA, I wish to extend our congratulations, but also our gratitude, to Kevin, Raven and KG for their fantastic performances in London over the past fortnight. These three players must receive all the credit for what they have achieved, but at the same time TSA thanks the trio for putting local tennis back in the public spotlight.
Kevin, Raven and KG come from diverse backgrounds and have followed diverging paths to get to where they are. As a result, their achievements will symbolise different things to different communities across our country. From a TSA perspective, the trio obviously represent the best of local tennis, but more importantly they also symbolise what local tennis could become on a consistent basis – diverse, inclusive and delivering on a global stage.
Indeed, the collective achievement of all three players has the potential to significantly advance the efforts of TSA - to both redress past imbalances and enable more emerging South African tennis players to achieve similar success.
First to Kevin – His 2018 Wimbledon was so much more than the final – it was a fortnight of magnificent performances, extreme physical endurance and displays of awesome mental strength. However perhaps most impressive were his post-match interviews, in which he displayed his integrity, sportsmanship and humanity. He is an incredible ambassador for our sport.
My view that TSA did not do enough to support him earlier in his career is well documented. My opinion on this remains unchanged and as a Federation we are trying to learn the lessons from the past and put in place a more comprehensive programme to support our elite junior players and rising stars.
For example - this year at Wimbledon we had a player feature in qualifying for the men’s singles and two players participate in Junior Wimbledon (one in the main draw and one in qualifying). All three of these players have received a level of support from TSA in the past 12 months – be it financial support or assistance with obtaining ITF grants or traveling coach support. Meanwhile, elsewhere within our structures, we also now provide monthly funding to five players in our Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams.
Is it a step in the right direction? Yes it is.
Is it enough? No, it is not. Far more needs to be done.
Next to Raven – While Kevin has received much of the media attention and focus, Raven’s run to reach the men’s doubles final also requires massive congratulations. It is a great personal achievement, but also a historically significant one as well - for the transformation of tennis in South Africa. Raven is a wonderful role model and leader in our sport and, mark my words, could well be a future President of Tennis SA.
People criticise tennis in South Africa for being elitist and not doing enough to transform the game. We take that criticism to heart and are committed to inclusive growth via several key interventions.
To mention just two of these interventions - we are busy rolling out five Growthpoint Development Centres in historically under-serviced communities in South Africa. Three are in place, with two more to follow. These have both a grassroots and high-performance focus – grassroots in terms of growing tennis participation in those communities and high performance in terms of giving the most talented kids in those communities a real chance to compete at a higher level.
Meanwhile, from a coaching perspective, we have also launched a new BNP Paribas Coaching Mentorship programme aimed at widening the demographic of registered coaches in South Africa - by creating more sustainable opportunities for black and/or female coaches. 44% of the year one intake are black females.
Is it a step in the right direction? Yes it is.
Is it enough? No, it is not. Far more needs to be done.
Last but not least – KG, who represents our sister body, Wheelchair Tennis South Africa. The first black African woman to participate at SW19 - she is a trail-blazer, barrier breaker and a history maker. She could well inspire a new generation of females to take up our sport. As an aside, the work that Wheelchair Tennis SA does must be applauded and TSA has much to learn from them – especially in the grassroots development space.
One of the strengths of tennis is that it is a sport that is played and supported almost equally by men and women. From a TSA perspective, we have become increasingly focused on investing in female tennis and thanks to the support of our new partner, Wiphold, there are several new projects in that space. For example - our new Wiphold U16 travelling squad is providing funding and support for selected girls, who represent all communities in South Africa, to compete in international events. Meanwhile, Louisa Mojela, the CEO of Wiphold and one of South Africa’s leading business leaders, is now a patron for local female tennis and is starting to do some great work behind the scenes.
Is it a step in the right direction? Yes it is.
Is it enough? No, it is not. Far more needs to be done.
Thank you Kevin, Raven and KG. You have created a massive wave of interest in our sport and TSA now needs to surf that wave - for the good of tennis in our country!

Richard Glover - CEO of Tennis South Africa.



Report and Results of the Wanderers Junior ITF, an international junior world ranking tennis tournament played at the Wanderers Sporting Club in Illovo, Johannesburg, South Africa on Sunday.

Top seeded Joubert Klopper of Bloemfontein, South Africa is the 2018 Wanderers Junior ITF boys singles champion. Klopper upset fellow countryman, top seeded Pierre Malan of Cape Town, South Africa 5-7 6-4 7-6 (1) in the finals of the Wanderers Junior ITF international tournament played at the Wanderers Sporting Club in Johannesburg. The title was Kloppers maiden international career title.

Photo Credit: BLD Communications

Top seeded Megan Basson of Johannesburg, South Africa is the 2018 Wanderers Junior ITF girls singles champion. Basson beat fellow countrywoman, fourth seeded Linge Steenkamp of Bloemfontein 3-6 7-5 6-1 in the finals of the Wanderers Junior ITF international tournament played at the Wanderers Sporting Club in Johannesburg. The title was Basson’s fifth international career title.

Johannesburg, South Africa – It was a good week for South African junior tennis players when they dominated the Wanderers Junior ITF international tournament which ended at the Wanderers Sporting Club in Illovo, Johannesburg this weekend.
South Africans made a clean title sweep winning the boys and girls singles and doubles titles in the first of two back to back Gauteng hosted international junior events.
Bloemfontein junior, Joubert Klopper (Free State) seeded 6 upset top seeded Pierre Malan (Western Cape) also of South Africa to win his maiden international junior title. In a marathon final that took 3 hrs. 44 minutes, Klopper beat Malan 5-7 6-4 7-6 (1).
Klopper saved a match point when serving 4-5 down in the second set delivering a big first serve which Malan returned long.
“I am hugely excited to have won my first international singles title. I’ve been a runner up twice and now I can say I am an international champion” said Klopper after victory. “It wasn’t easy, Pierre played well and is always a tough competitor. After losing the first set I said to myself forget that set and let’s start the match over, a mental toughness tip I got from my coach Ruan Botha. That helped me regroup and I was able to remain mentally strong for the remainder of the match which I think was the key to my success.”
In the Girls singles final, top seed “comeback kid” Megan Basson (Gauteng Central) of South Africa came from behind to beat her compatriot, Linge Steenkamp (Fee State) the fourth seed 3-6 7-5 6-1 in a 2 hr. 30 min thriller to lift the title.
Basson, 16 years old from Fairlands, west of Johannesburg, saved six match points in the second set before winning the title.
“I had not lost a set all week going into the finals so when I lost that first set against Linge it was quite a shock. I then found myself 3-5 down in the second set and said to myself I had worked and played so hard getting to the final I wasn’t going to let it slip” said Basson.
Basson was serving with her “back against the wall” at 3-6 3-5 and saved six match points in that mammoth ninth game that took nearly 15 minutes to complete
“I was in all sorts of trouble in that ninth game. Match points down on serve but I maintained my composure. Winning that game gave me so much confidence and I was able to break serve in the next game and hold on to win the set. In the third set the momentum was with me and I managed to dominate and secure the win. I am very happy with my efforts and feel my game is in good space” said Basson.
The Wanderers title was Basson’s fifth international junior title.
Joubert Klopper won the double when he captured the boys doubles title with fellow South African Gerhardt Bekker. Second seeded Klopper and Becker upset top seeds Pierre Malan and Charl Morgan 6-3 6-2.
In the girls doubles there was consolation for singles finalist Linge Steenkamp when she teamed up with Marne Derckson to win the title. Second seeded Dercksen and Steenkamp bt third seeded Tamsin Hart and Delien Kleinhans 6-4 6-3 in the all South African final.


RSA unless stated
1-Pierre Malan bt `4-Joubert Klopper 5-7 6-4 7-6 (1)

1-Megan Basson bt 4-Linge Steenkamp 3-6 7-5 6-1

2-Gerhardt Becker/Joubert Klopper bt 1-Pierre Malan/Charl Morgan 6-3 6-2
2-Marne Dercksen/Linge Steenkamp bt 3-Tamsin Hart/Delien Kleinhans 6-4 6-3



Pretoria, South Africa - Tennis South Africa (TSA) announced the boys and girls singles seeds and wild-cards for next week Gauteng North Junior ITF international junior tennis tournament.

DSC 0943: South African Phillip Henning of Bloemfontein has been named as the top seed of the boys singles for next week’s Gauteng North Junior ITF to be played at the Groenkloof Tennis Stadium in Pretoria from 23-28 July.

Photo Credit: BLD Communications

South African Megan Basson of Johannesburg has been named as the top seed of the girls singles for next week’s Gauteng North Junior ITF to be played at the Groenkloof Tennis Stadium in Pretoria from 23-28 July.

The tournament, a Grade 4 status event on the international junior tennis circuit, will be played at the Groenkloof Stadium in Pretoria, Tshwane from 23-28 July 2018.

The boys singles top seed is South Africa’s highest world ranked junior Phillip Henning of Bloemfontein who has just returned to South Africa after competing in the European summer circuit including the Junior French and Wimbledon Championships.

Megan Basson of Johannesburg headlines the girls singles. Basson is the reigning Growthpoint national under 16 junior champion.

The Gauteng North Junior ITF is the second of back to back international junior tennis tournaments hosted by TSA during the winter school holiday. The first, the Wanderers Junior ITF is coming to an end this weekend at the Wanderers Sporting Club in Illovo, Johannesburg.

The boys seeds are as follows;

RSA unless stated

  1. Phillip Henning
  2. Pierre Malan
  3. Christiaan Worst
  4. Charl Morgan
  5. Gerhardt Becker
  6. Joubert Klopper
  7. Robbie Arends
  8. Jordan Coutinho
  9. Thabo Ncube (ZIM)
  10. Victor Putter
  11. Dylan Salton
  12. Parker Collins Flores (USA)
  13. Tinashe Taruberekera (ZIM)
  14. Gerhard Sullward
  15. Tsholofelo Tsiang BOT
  16. Maj Tomac (SLO)

The girls seeds are as follows;

  1. Megan Basson
  2. Marne Derckson
  3. Delien Kleinhans
  4. Linge Steenkamp
  5. Lara van Der Merwe
  6. Rochelle Pienaar
  7. Goerginal Moolman (NAM)
  8. Tamsin Hart

The wildcards were announced as follows;


Andreas Scott, Durther Theron, Devin Badenhorst, Luc Koenig, Francois Van Wyk, Yarona Morule


Ntokozo Zungu, Jessica Portwig, Carmen Fichardt, Makhosaza Steward



Potchefstroom, South Africa - When Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson matriculated from St Stithians College in Sandton, Johannesburg he had two options, one to turn professional or secondly to further his education and continue his tennis development in a College or University system.

Anderson decided on the latter and took up a tennis scholarship at the University of Illinois in the USA. There Anderson excelled not only at his studies but also on the tennis court.

“I really didn’t know too much about college tennis when I was in South Africa” admitted Anderson. “My family didn’t have the funding required for me to turn professional or to establish a base in the U.S. where I could play a lot of tournaments and develop my game, which was important. So I took up the scholarship with Illinois which allowed be to create a base and develop my tennis in a proper tennis environment” said Anderson.

The South African was a major part of the University of Illinois tennis teams success playing three seasons of college tennis. He was a three-time All-American in singles and two-time All-American in doubles before turning professional in 2007. Since turning pro, Anderson has climbed to a world high ranking of number 5 reaching two Grand Slam finals (US Open – 2017 and Wimbledon -2018).

Many South African matriculants who are promising tennis players have the option of either taking up a US College scholarship or remaining in South Africa to continue their studies and play tennis in the USSA tennis system.

Tennis South Africa (TSA) also have introduced open singles and doubles events to their Growthpoint Super 8 Series of tournaments which allow men and women players to compete in tournament play at the highest level after leaving the junior ranks. These tournaments, played nationally and during the school and university holidays are popular amongst the South African tertiary education students as well as those who have taken up scholarships in the USA and return home for the vacations.

Recently the USSA championships were staged in Bloemfontein where fourteen tertiary institutions played in a week long national tournament. The institutions were divided into a A and B section with each section having a A and B pool.

The combined men’s and women’s teams played in a round robin pool tournament and the final log positions were as follows;

1. University of the Free State
2. University of Pretoria
3. North West University (Potchefstroom)
4. Stellenbosch University
5. Tshwane University of Technology
6. University of Kwa-Zulu Natal
7. Vaal University of Technology
8. North West University (Mafikeng)

1. North West University (Potchefstroom)
2. Nelson Mandela University
3. Stellenbosch University
4. University of Cape Town
5. University of Pretoria
6. University of Witwatersrand
7. University of Zululand
8. University of Limpopo
9. Sol Plaatjie University
10. Durban University of Technology

Following the tournament, USSA squads were selected as follows;

Arne Nel (University of the Free State)
Cornelius Rall (University of the Free State)
Ruben Kruger (University of the Free State)
Janre VIljoen (North West University – Potchefstroom)
Hubert Badenhorst (North West University – Potchefstroom)
Weyers Meintjies (Stellenbosch University)
Jandre Lessing (Stellenbosch University)
Reinhard Pelser (University of Pretoria)
Henco Doman (University of Pretoria)
Chevaan Davids (University of Cape Town)
William Thatcher (University of Cape Town)
Michael Carse (Nelson Mandela University)

Lienke de Kock (University of the Free State)
Reze Opperman (University of the Free State)
Wilanie van Zyl (North West University – Potchefstroom)
Margo Landman (North West University – Potchefstroom)
Nadine de Villiers (North West University – Potchefstroom)
Anja Lubbe (Stellenbosch University)
Sinazo Solani (Stellenbosch University)
Amy Olivier (University of Pretoria)
Kyla Yelverton (University of Pretoria)
Elaine van Zyl (Nelson Mandela University)
Anne Snyman (University of Witwatersrand)
Kabelo Nankie (University of Limpopo)

Coaches : Riaan Venter and Marnus Kleinhans

The Squad of 24 players will be in a training programme for the next 7 months. USSA plan to use the TSA Growthpoint Super 8 series circuit as part of the preparation for the squad announced below.

A team will then be chosen from the squad players to represent the country in the 2019 Univesiade to be staged in Napoli, Italy in July.



Wimbledon, London - Ah, there you are again, Novak. It’s been too long.

At the Wimbledon men’s final of 2018, tennis celebrated the return of a wonderful old friend. These last couple of years have featured an unfamiliar doppelganger bearing Djokovic’s name, with none of his old invincibility; but as of the semi-finals here, the awkward stranger is banished.

It’s been a long, uncomfortable road, but the superstar is back, rocking the Centre Court, nibbling its grass in victory, and racking up the Grand Slams once again.

If this Championships decider fell short of an all-time classic, then the story it framed will go down in the history books nonetheless. Here was 32-year-old Kevin Anderson, the giant who no one saw coming, bidding to become the oldest first-time Wimbledon champion since the game turned professional 50 years ago, and the first South African to lift the famous gilt trophy. Opposite him was the 12-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic, who has endured two very long years of turmoil, injury and decline.

Each had fought breathtaking battles through earlier rounds to reach this shootout, but only one man could complete his personal odyssey with the ultimate prize – and it was Djokovic, delivering at times a near error-free display to capture his fourth Wimbledon crown 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(3).

Just months ago – weeks, even – such an idea was inconceivable. Yet having slumped to the world No.21 spot, he has become the lowest-ranked man to win Wimbledon since Goran Ivanisevic did it as the world No.125 in 2001.

Djokovic came into this Fortnight on his humblest-ever seeding here, No.12, carrying the knowledge that this was the first season since 2006 that he has failed to win a Tour-level title before Wimbledon. But if a chap is going to capture his first tournament victory of 2018, he might as well make it the greatest prize of all.

All year Djokovic has shown increasing glimpses of the tennis which formerly made him the best player on the planet; but somehow the results he strung together – a semi-final in Rome, a quarter at Roland-Garros, the final and even a match point at Queen’s – served only to highlight the chasm between that form and the insuperability of old.

Yet he had set himself the towering task of somehow mapping a route back to the player he used to be, and having done so there was no other way to go about it other than step by brutal step.

How easy it is for those of us who have stood witness to announce now that Djokovic’s belief never flagged. That cheap summation surely does him a vast disservice, so evident was his frequent bewilderment at the loss of his former powers.

But still he kept going, and with that marvellous display against a superb Rafael Nadal in the semi-final here, he was reborn – the player he used to be and more, wiser for all that he has endured.

Anderson, for his part, could not rise to the occasion. Having famously beaten Roger Federer 13-11 in the final set of an epic quarter-final, he backed it up with that magnificent mega-duel to defeat John Isner, but the final was a test too far.

Ten years after he last defeated Djokovic, he was hobbled both mentally and physically by the incalculable demands of so many hours on court. It was only in the third set that he began to play as he would have wished.

Even in the first set his service arm was suffering with the cumulative effect of so many power deliveries in so short a timespan, and he received attention from the trainer. At a set and 2-5 down he at last commanded a break point, but under relentless fire from Djokovic the forehand which has served Anderson so well could not deliver.

Throughout it all, the South African chattered away to himself in encouragement, deploying all the newly-learned mental tricks which have helped him to two Grand Slam finals in the last year. He will leap up to No.5 when the latest rankings are released after The Championships, and his achievements at Wimbledon 2018 will not be forgotten
But as the Centre Court surface temperature touched 40 degrees, Djokovic was hot stuff on a hotter day. With the heavy cloak of doubt cast aside, unburdened at last, Djokovic ensured that the legendary lawn was left scorched by more than just the summer sun.

For two sets his serve delivered time after time, and Anderson could scarcely touch it. Only when the prize drew near did Djokovic misfire, and he repelled five set points. Up ahead, triumph waited patiently.

The Serb took a step towards it with a delicious forehand pass; and soon after that, victory’s kiss left him on his haunches, as if in prayer. Minutes later, the ancient trophy was in his hands again, a sight applauded by his three-year old son Stefan in the arms of his mother, Djokovic’s wife Jelena.

“It feels amazing – the first time in my life I have someone screaming ‘Daddy! Daddy!’,” smiled Djokovic. “I’m very emotional with him being there, and my wife and whole team. I cherish this moment.

I would like to congratulate Kevin. I was quite lucky to get through. I’m very grateful to everyone who has been supporting me. The last couple of years haven’t been easy, facing for the first time a severe injury. I had many moments of doubt and didn’t know if I could come back. But there’s no better place in the world to make a comeback. I always dreamed of holding this trophy as a boy. This is a sacred place for tennis. It’s very special.”

And then he laughed, gazing in wonder at the trophy – and so much else – restored to him once more. Novak Djokovic is the champion again, at Wimbledon, the place which matters to him the most. Welcome back, friend. Seems like old times.”


By Kate Battersby
Picture credit : Aeltc / Jed Leicester

The Championships
Sunday, 15 July 2018
Kevin Anderson
Press Conference
N. DJOKOVIC/K. Anderson

6-2, 6-2, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How tired were you when you started? How did you develop and find your energy to play so well in the third set where you had five set points?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, it was a tough start for me. You know, you always have high hopes. Going into the match, I was hoping to draw on some previous experiences, playing at the US Open in the finals, obviously playing Federer a couple days ago.

But, yeah, I didn’t really find my form the way I wanted to. Of course, my body didn’t feel great. I mean, I don’t think you’re going to expect it to feel great this deep into a tournament when you’ve played so much tennis.

But I was definitely quite nervous starting out the match. Didn’t play great tennis in the beginning. I tried my best to keep at it. Definitely felt much better in the third set. I thought I had quite a few opportunities to win that third set, especially a couple of the points where Novak hit a couple balls, I thought they were actually going out, managed to land right on the line.

I would have loved to have pushed it to another set, but it obviously wasn’t meant to be.

Q. Did you sense in the third set that he was tightening up?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, potentially. I mean, I just know from my side I was playing much, much better in the third set. I think one of the biggest challenges, you know, tennis players face, what sort of separated the top guys who have done so well and guys further down, is maybe not necessarily just their raw abilities, but it’s their ability to play their best tennis in these sort of matches.

I wasn’t able to do that in the beginning. He was. I was able to do it more in the third set. That’s the kind of tennis I would need to have to play and the comfortability [sic] I’d need from the beginning. That’s something we’ve worked really hard on. I know I’m making progress. I can take a lot of confidence in that.

It was obviously disappointing, not the result I was hoping for today. But, I always try to look for the positives from it.

Q. How was the recovery period between the semifinal and final? Did that play a factor in the start of the final?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, potentially. Honestly, Saturday was pretty tough. There was a lot of thoughts going through my mind of, Am I going to be ready to play another three-out-of-five-set match on Sunday against somebody like Novak.

Getting here to the courts, seeing the doctors, seeing the podiatrist for my feet. Having a very light hit, I probably only hit for 10 or 15 minutes. You go through certain exercises that I do. When things aren’t feeling the way they should, you always have a little bit of doubt.

I think, I mean, I barely slept on Friday night. Actually last night I was able to get in a pretty good night. Waking up today, I actually felt okay, insomuch that, you know, I don’t think the match was entirely just because I wasn’t feeling the freshest. It was a bit more of being able to play the kind of tennis I needed to at this stage.

In the third set, I was able to actually pick it up a little bit. Obviously would have loved to have gone to a fourth set. I don’t know how I would have felt as the match progressed. Novak is very tough to match physically.

I think all in all, my body actually handled it pretty well.

Q. Could you run us through what exactly you do compared to what you thought you were going to do in the 40 hours between the semifinal and the final.
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I sort of had high hopes and expectations that going out there I was going to be a little bit more comfortable, a little bit more free. That wasn’t meant to be. The way the ball was coming off my racquet, sort of the quality of my footwork, my ball striking wasn’t where it needed to be to compete with somebody like Novak.

That’s tough. It’s tough being out there at that stage, knowing you’re not playing the kind of tennis you want to play. I think even when I played Federer going down two sets to love, I felt I found my form much quicker. Even though I lost the second set, I felt it was a really high-quality set. I was actually feeling pretty comfortable the way I was playing.

I was able to pick it up a lot in the third set. I felt I played really good tennis. Sort of as Novak alluded to in the interview, I don’t think he was just being nice. I definitely had more opportunities than he did. I didn’t face any breakpoints. I had five set points. A couple of them, the one I was almost starting to celebrate, it managed to land in.

The biggest takeaway for me is sort of the belief, hopefully next time right from the beginning I’ll be able to play, you know, better tennis.

Q. We never know what the high watermark is of anyone’s career. It may be for you today. What gives you the confidence that the high watermark is higher than today somewhere in the future?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I think the main thing is if I look at the improvements I’m making, I feel like it’s getting better. Chatting with my team, everybody has the same sense looking at the way I play. I think there’s some small improvements I can still continue to make that will make life easier for me.

I definitely believe I have the game to win these tournaments. If you asked a lot of players, you know, their dreams, it’s to win Grand Slams, win Masters Series. Some players are able to trick themselves to really believing that. Even though it was a huge goal of mine, if you asked me this time a year ago, I don’t think I could sit here and say I really believe that I can win a Grand Slam and a Masters Series and say it with the same self-belief and confidence that I can now.

Obviously, that’s by no means a sure thing whatsoever, but it’s a big starting point. It’s taken a long time to get to this point. I feel like I’m on a great path. I’m trusting the process a lot. I have to continue doing that.

If I’m not in another Grand Slam final, it’s because maybe I just got unlucky. You can’t control everything. What I can control, I’m doing my best at doing. I have a lot of belief I can put myself into another one of these matches, and hopefully have the result that I’m looking for.

Q. Today’s result is a bit unfortunate. Because of the two weeks of incredible tennis that you did in Wimbledon, you’re going to be in top five when the new rankings come out. What does that mean to you? Two years ago you had a lot of injuries, struggles.
KEVIN ANDERSON: It really means a lot actually. It was about two and a half years ago, just in the team and in the chat, we had a chat on WhatsApp called top-five Kev. That was the goal. I got to top 10 that year. Things were looking good. Then obviously I had a major setback and injuries in 2016.

So seeing that I made top five, I’m incredibly proud of that achievement, especially if I look back where I was just 15 months ago, around 80. It’s really something I can be very proud of.

Even though today is not the result I was looking for, I think in the next few days, just seeing my new career-high ranking is going to mean a lot to me. I think looking back at some of the matches here I’ve played, especially my quarterfinal and semifinal match, I think it will really sort of set in what I’ve accomplished. I can be happy with that and use it for continued motivation moving forward.

Q. How well do you feel Novak is playing in comparison to when he was winning Grand Slams regularly?
KEVIN ANDERSON: It’s obviously tough to say. It’s a different set of circumstances. I’m not surprised that he’s been able to come back. He obviously is such a high-quality player. I practiced with him earlier this year out in Indian Wells. Even just practicing with him before this tournament. Obviously playing him today, you can definitely see the improvements he’s made since coming back from injury.

Obviously I think his match yesterday with Nadal was, you know, a big exclamation point to him to his physicality. I think he struggled with his serve coming back after the elbow, but I felt when I’ve played him before, I didn’t really notice. The serve was there today, how quick he was hitting it.

I mean, if you look at the year he’s had before he was injured, it was one of the most dominating years of all time. If he can match that, it would be an amazing effort. I don’t think that’s a fair benchmark to set to anybody.

Obviously he’s just won a Grand Slam again, his 13th. I think guys at the top can expect to see him on the other side of the net quite frequently.

Q. In the two days since your 50-game fifth set, there’s been a lot of discussion of the issue of final set tiebreakers. What do you expect will happen?
KEVIN ANDERSON: You know, I’m not sure. Hopefully there will be at least a dialogue. Obviously just with the setup of the tour, the slams are separate from the tour, so we don’t really have the same voice, I feel, on certain issues. US Open is doing a shot clock. We weren’t really consulted on that. We were sort of told what’s going on with that. I’m hearing a lot of rumors about 16 seeds next year. That’s also not something we’ve chatted about sort of on the council.

I mean, I just hope the slams can also at least look at it and have an open conversation about it. I think it’s at least a conversation worth having both just protecting players’ health when you have these very long matches. But, you know, I honestly don’t know where it exactly will go from that.

I guess my hope is just to have a conversation about it.

Q. The third set, you said you were playing some good tennis. Watching from the sidelines, you were a lot more free. Do you feel like if the match would have started again at that point, it might have panned out differently, if you had come into the game playing that freely?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Obviously impossible to say. Without a doubt, I would have given myself a better chance. I mean, in the first two sets, just the rhythm of my serve didn’t feel great. Obviously when that’s not getting me any free points. It’s my biggest weapon as a tennis player. In the third set, I found my rhythm. That’s how I serve 95% of the time.

I’m definitely not going to say that if I had started like that it would have been a different result. But at least I would have given myself a much better chance. I think I would have been much more competitive of course in those first few sets. I still would have had to overcome a lot of emotional battles out there, still in sort of new territory. He’s been there many times before.

But at least have a chance. I mean, I would have needed to have started the way I was playing in the third set.

Q. The fifth-set tiebreaker, do you feel Grand Slams are making the final product in those final matches a bit worse off if players are coming through, like you, playing 22 hours of tennis to get to the final?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, I guess the flipside would be, I think fans specifically really enjoy and find a huge value in seeing extended matches. I mean, it’s definitely a talking point. People remember sort of those matches. I’m sure my match with John will be spoken about just because of the uniqueness of the match, the length of the match.

But, I mean, most people I speak to I feel really find value if there was a fifth-set breaker like there is at the US Open. It’s really exciting. If a winner hasn’t been decided at 6-All in the fifth, I don’t think there’s a reason to continue playing. I don’t think there’s that much value in having to break serve and hold serve. I think a tiebreaker would be fine. That would be sort of my case or my reasoning.

If the Grand Slams really feel like they hear a lot of people really enjoy that, then that’s something we might have to just continue with the same format.

Q. You mentioned nerves affected you a little bit. If you looked at the last two matches, it seems your mental strength got you through those and into the final. You never faltered once in those two five sets. What was different about today? The size of the occasion?
KEVIN ANDERSON: I mean, my match with Roger, same thing happened in the first set. It was the same thing that happened today. I was able to turn it around, though, much quicker in the second set. That’s what allowed me to win that match. Even though I came close to losing that, I still think I found my comfortability and my rhythm out on the court in that second set. Today it was only in the third set.

Potentially had I won that third set, continued that sort of play, I was going to be in for a shot. He would still be the favorite up two sets to love. I’m not sure I would have been able to withstand physically. At least I would have sort of asked a question from his side.

Even though those two previous matches against Federer, I sort of started off. Those are the challenges I’m working on, taking the court against a very small group of guys who you see playing a lot at this sort of level, sometimes it can be intimidating playing them. I believe I’ve been able to continually take strides, feel more comfortable out there.

Even though I got through those matches, it was still a theme, something I’m going to have to continue doing a better job with.

Q. Back to the issue of the fifth-set tiebreakers for a moment. Is there pretty much a consensus amongst the players on the council? Do you send text messages about this? Is it pretty much when you have the council meetings?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Honestly, in terms of our topics we’ve spoken about on the council for the last few years, me being on it for a while now, we’ve had so many things to talk about. Fifth sets hasn’t been something we’ve spoken about at all. It’s always been on the radar.

The amount of times that it happens is very, you know, rare. It definitely happened this tournament a few times at a very big stage, late in the tournament. It naturally becomes more of a discussion point.

It was a big discussion point when John played Mahut however many years ago. What a ridiculous match that was, crazy match that was. I think if I asked most players, they wouldn’t be opposed to incorporating a fifth-set breaker. I’m sure there’s a few people that embrace the history, that you do play long sets. It is a unique point. I definitely agree with that.

But I think just as tennis continues to evolve and just sports in general, I think the incredibly long matches maybe has had its place and time.

Q. Could a 12-12 breaker be a compromise?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I just don’t see a difference. At 6-All in the fifth, you’ve been out there a number of hours. I don’t think you’re going to gain much getting to 12-12. I think even that would be a step in the right direction.

View Our Archives

View our categories

Subscribe via RSS