Kevin Anderson kick-started a slow 2018 to date by claiming the ATP New York Open early on Monday morning (SA time).
Following a blow-out in last month’s Australian Open, that raised fears South Africa’s No 1 tennis player wouldn’t build on his excellent runners-up finish at the US Open last year, this win comes as a relief.
However, the aftermath of his win was dominated by two weird occurrences: the abstract painting he received as trophy as well as dedicating his victory to his new puppy.
The canine was with his wife, Kelsey, in the crowd.
More importantly though, his 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(1) win over American Sam Querrey is expected to lift him back into the top 10 of the world rankings.
“Obviously, you go out there – the quicker and easier you can win, the better,” Anderson said about a few long matches in the run-up.
“But, I think I can take a lot of confidence in the way I was able to come through those close matches. I was tested, every single match went to three sets, three of the four matches went to 7-6 in the third and I played some of my best tennis when it mattered.”
Anderson also felt a palpable sense of relief given a dodgy recent track record in finals
“I have been runner-up quite a few times in my career. One of the big goals I had for this year was to try to be a bit more successful in that final stage,” said Anderson.
“It feels great to come through and get today’s win. It gives me a lot of confidence for the year.
“Definitely feels very good to clear that last hurdle and walk away with the title. I’ve had a lot of very close matches this week.”