If Kevin Anderson reaches the US Open last 16 on Friday, he’ll give a hat tip to his younger brother, whose dreams of also making it as a professional were shattered by injury.
The 31-year-old South African won’t have to go too far to celebrate with sibling Greg, who now works as a tennis academy director in nearby Connecticut.
“We grew up together and spent thousands of hours practicing,” Anderson said after making the third round with a 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 victory over Ernests Gulbis of Latvia.
Greg, younger by 18 months, played on the third-tier Futures tour after college in the United States but injuries ended his hopes of going further.
However, he always hits with his big brother when he comes to the US Open.
“We keep it pretty casual. He had aspirations to become a professional but a pretty big injury put him behind the curve ball,” said Anderson.
“It was really tough for him but we have a hit here. He has a great eye for the game and always follows my progress.
“I value his opinion and input.”
Anderson, born in Johannesburg but a permanent resident of the United States, enjoyed his best Grand Slam performance in New York in 2015 when he reached the quarter-finals, knocking out Andy Murray on the way.
On Friday, he faces world number 61 Borna Coric who made the third round by stunning fourth-seeded German Alexander Zverev.
Anderson, seeded at 28, is 2-0 against Coric but would have taken a 0-4 losing record against Zverev into Friday’s third round had the young German prevailed against the 20-year-old Croatian.
Three of those losses came this year but Anderson insisted he would have been happy to tackle the beanpole German again.
“I have had more success against Borna but I would have liked to have had the opportunity to play Alexander again,” he said.
“I could have looked to up my level but that opportunity will have to wait.”
Zverev, the highly regarded trailblazer of the “Next Gen” expected to succeed the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Murray, has flattered to deceive at the Slams.
In 2017, his best run was to the last 16 at Wimbledon after a third round exit in Australia and first round loss at Roland Garros.
Yet, on the tour, the German has taken five titles, including majors in Rome and Montreal, beating Djokovic and Federer respectively in the finals.
“Maybe there’s more pressure at the Slams,” said Anderson, who has made at least the last-16 of all four majors.
“But I’m sure he’ll figure it out.”