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Kevin Anderson: And I'm Feeling Good

Indian Wells, U.S.A.

Anderson© Getty ImagesKevin Anderson reached the fourth round in Indian Wells for the first time.

Kevin Anderson has been one of the more consistent players on the ATP World Tour in 2013, holding a 12-3 record. Despite undergoing right elbow surgery, which required him to miss four weeks after the Australian Open, the South African has quickly regained his early season form at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

He ousted fourth-ranked David Ferrer in his second-round match and backed it up by dropping just four games to cruise past Jarkko Nieminen on Monday, putting himself into the fourth round at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event for the first time.

BNPParibasOpen.com caught up with the former University of Illinois standout, discussing his showing thus far in Indian Wells, meeting Gladys Knight and more…

It’s not always easy to consolidate a big win in your next match, but you did that today. What has worked so well for you this week to enable you to reach your first round of 16 here?
I think it’s important after a win like Ferrer to try and capitalize on your opportunity. The conditions are playing really nicely I feel. The balls are bouncing up. I think that suits my game nicely. I think I’m moving. I’m giving myself time from the baseline. I’m feeling healthy. My elbow is getting better with each match. I was really happy with how it felt today. I was almost pain free the whole match, so that’s a positive sign.

It’s just your second event back since having the elbow surgery. Did you expect to find so much success this early on?
The easier thing about having elbow surgery, opposed to something like knee surgery, is I was still able to do quite a bit of stuff during the three or four weeks. I was working a lot on movement and was able to hit forehands and backhands early on, almost 10 days after the surgery. Everything else in my game was feeling good except the serve and constructing points. I think playing Delray Beach assisted with that. Obviously, the fourth round here is a good result and it’s great being where I am right now.

Even with the injury, results wise, this is arguably the best start to a season you’ve had. What do you attribute this to? Is due to work you put in this past off season, your coaching change, more self belief, or simply, the sum of all parts coming together?
I feel it's a combination of things, both long term and short term. Experience is a valuable asset, and something that just comes over time. I have felt I have had good starts in previous couple years, and this year I feel another good start. I felt I was playing some good tennis at the end of last year and carried that onwards. I had a good off season, and started the year physically strong. Additionally, it's not easy changing coaches, but I am happy with the way things are working with GD, he has helped to add to my game both physically and mentally.

Switching gears, your Fighting Illini suddenly find themselves in trouble entering the Big Ten basketball tournament. Do you think their performance this week will play a role in Selection Sunday or are they locked in with their huge wins over the likes of Indiana, Ohio State and Gonzaga?
I would love to give you a smart answer (smiles), but I haven’t been following too closely. I know we had a great start to the season. But it’s always fun. I fill out a bracket and it’s entertaining. It’s a good month for sports.

Yesterday, you met Gladys Knight. What was the experience of talking tennis with a music legend like and did you know anything about her before?
Unfortunately, I didn’t know too much. I didn’t think I was that mad with my music knowledge. She was really friendly and is a huge tennis fan. Then I listened to her stuff yesterday and I recognized a couple of her songs. So it was really cool to meet her.

You’ve always been very open about your opinions on Twitter. Your wife Kelsey is also an avid Tweeter. Between the two of you, who is more creative in composing a thought in 140 characters or less?
She’s definitely more creative. I sometimes type it out and am at 180, and I’m like, ‘can you please fix my Tweet for me?’ (laughter). So that’s definitely her department.

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