South African tennis star Kevin Anderson’s achievement of reaching the semifinals of the US Open is simply remarkable.
After Anderson’s quarterfinal victory over Sam Querrey of the United States this week, he became the first South African since two-time Grand Slam winner Johan Kriek in 1980 to reach the US Open semifinals.
Kriek, born in Pongola, became a naturalised American two years later.
The 31-year-old Anderson has over the last 10 days at Flushing Meadows shown his 2015 US Open quarterfinal appearance was no fluke.
He will face Spanish 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta tonight for a place in the final against either Rafa Nadal or Juan Martin del Potro.
What makes Anderson’s rise so impressive is that he has been able to pick himself up after being hampered by a string of injuries, which saw him drop to a seven-year low ranking of 87 at the start of the year – a far cry from his career-high top-10 ranking in 2015.
The sport of tennis in South Africa needs a hero. So many kids would rather pick up a cricket bat or kick a soccer ball. Anderson’s fairy-tale run could just give children a new role model.
Anderson will probably never get a better chance to reach a Grand Slam final. Go, Kevin, South Africa is behind you.