A decade ago, Kevin Anderson would’ve been considered too old to reach greater heights in his tennis career.
In 2017, however, 31 is the new 21 as South Africa’s leading player takes inspiration from the continued excellence of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer as well as someone like Stan Wawrinka, who’s become better with age.
Following a brilliant run to reach the final of the US Open, Anderson is convinced he’ll continue to set new standards for himself.
He’s currently ranked 15th in the world.
“It didn’t seem like that long ago when a tennis player who turned 30 was told he’d reached the end of his career,” he told Rayder Media.
“That perception has changed a lot, especially over the last five years. Some many guys in their thirties are now playing some of their best tennis. Players have changed the way they look after themselves. They can now compete longer at a higher level.
“That gives me hope. I’ve had this career highlight but there’s still a lot I think I can do better. The biggest goal is to keep the body healthy. If I’m able to do that, I can still play some of my best tennis.”
Anderson though isn’t afraid to admit that it’s not always pleasurable to compete on the circuit when the men’s game gets dominated by the so-call Big Four – Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
“The last 10 to 15 years has been an amazing time for men’s tennis. Those four players’ success has been unparalleled,” he said.
“It’s made it very difficult for a lot of players. What you have to realise is that when these guys have reached the semis and finals of so many major tournaments, they keep adding to their experience. The rest of us haven’t been in that position.
“We’re not only competing against them, we’re not as wise in dealing with these pressure situations as them because they’ve learnt what it takes.”
But it’s not all negative for the lanky Johannesburg native with the big serve.
“It’s been a curse and a blessing. It’s been the toughest time to break through but at the same they’ve propelled tennis forward,” said Anderson.
“They’ve done major work to boost the popularity of the sport and they’ve made us become better players.”