Anderson Hopes For Swift Comeback Following Elbow Surgery
by Kate Flory|
Kevin Anderson hopes to make a return to the ATP World Tour later this month after undergoing surgery to remove loose bone fragments in his elbow two weeks ago in Melbourne. The South African has been recovering in Auckland, New Zealand, with the help of his physio, Murray Hing, and coach, GD Jones, and has not ruled out a return at the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships in Memphis on 18 February.
“It started playing up in December and I saw the doctors in Sydney, where I had an MRI done, and then in Melbourne I had the surgery done,” Anderson told ATPWorldTour.com. “Basically, they just had to go in there, arthroscopically, and remove the pieces. They did find a few more pieces than had appeared on the MRI during the surgery and had to smooth down a couple of bone heads in the elbow and clean up the joint.
“Dr. Hoy came very highly recommended and that was the big reason for having the surgery in Melbourne,” continued South-African born Anderson. “Secondly, my physio lives in Auckland and I wanted to do my post-recovery work with him. I also wanted to do it as soon as possible and they had all the resources here. It worked quite well. I had to wait a few days before I could travel and then I came to Auckland to start my rehab work with Murray.”
The 26-year-old Anderson started the 2013 season in strong form, reaching the final of APIA International Sydney (l. to Tomic), before becoming the first South African in 10 years to reach the fourth round of a major at the Australian Open, beating Fernando Verdasco in five sets before succumbing to Tomas Berdych. He is currently a career-high No. 28 in the Emirates ATP Rankings and, with recovery going well, hopes to pick up where he left off on his return.
“Rehab has been going very well,” said Anderson. “I’ve been spending several hours a day on it: usually an hour of treatment in the morning, followed by an hour of exercise and then another couple of hours in the afternoon just exercising it. The big thing is just getting the mobility back; at least it was for the first 10 days. These past three days, in the afternoons, I’ve started hitting balls very slowly. I’m making good progress.
“The doctor said it was going to be roughly four to six weeks and we’ve been trying to cut that back to as soon as possible. Memphis starts in two weeks. There's a very outside chance of that, but we’ll have to see how the elbow’s doing in the next week or so. Right now, Delray Beach looks a bit more likely.”
Reflecting on his achievements at the start of the season, Anderson attributed hard work and perseverance. “I think it’s come through work built up over time. I’d been in the third round [of a major] a few times. So, I felt I had made good improvements to put myself in the position to go further, but just fell short in the last few years at that level. I think experience has played a big part, being more comfortable in those positions, and lots of work. I felt I had a good off-season here in Auckland. I felt healthy and prepared and just ready to go.”
“The main thing is just getting back healthy; it’s always tough to take a few weeks off,” explained Anderson. “We’re able to do quite a bit of work now, so hopefully I’ll hit the ground running. I just need to continue doing what I was doing, focussing on what I need to do on the court and just take each match at a time. I set my sights on the year and I’ve been working hard each day to improve little things.”
Having spent most of the past two months in Auckland, staying with his coach’s parents, Anderson has taken the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of New Zealand, but is ruling out the extreme sports it is famed for.
“It’s a great place,” said Anderson. “We’ve been able to do quite a few fun things. It’s a beautiful country. We’re actually heading down to Queenstown for a couple of days this weekend. It’s been nice to combine training with a feeling of staying in a home.
“I’ve been told that in Queenstown I need to go and do the bungee jumping and last week we were at a lake with some cliff-jumping. But I don’t know if I’d be doing it, even if I didn’t have a sore arm! I’d probably be taking too many chances on it.”