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At the 2008 Miami Open, Kevin Anderson celebrated an upset win over Novak Djokovic.

My Masters 1000: Kevin Anderson

South African looks back on special Masters 1000 debut in Miami

The Miami Open presented by Itau has always been special for Kevin Anderson. The South African made quite the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 debut at the tournament in 2008. A year removed from a successful collegiate career at the University of Illinois, the South African qualified for the main draw and stunned reigning Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic in the second round. Three years later at Crandon Park, Anderson reached his first Masters 1000 quarter-final, this time coming up short against Djokovic.

As he makes his return to Miami this week, the 30-year-old Anderson looks back on his win over Djokovic and shares who he thinks is the toughest competitor in Masters 1000 history.

What makes the ATP Word Tour Masters 1000 tournaments special?
First of all, you have a full playing field, pretty much every single top player is here... Indian Wells and Miami, with the bigger draw, really showcase pretty much the Grand Slam-level of field in a more condensed format. The tournament goes a little quicker. From the other side, Paris, you have a much smaller draw, you have some incredible matches from early on in the tournament. 

Which is your favourite Masters 1000 tournament?
They’re all really special in their own way. I must say Indian Wells is one of my favourites. I love the surrounding areas. I’ve always been a big fan of the mountains and I usually try to hike a little bit. But also just how much they’ve put into the facilities, it’s quite to special to play at. Each court feels like a little grandstand court, even if it’s grandstand 8 with Hawk-Eye. It’s almost as close as you can get to a Grand Slam. 

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Of the Masters 1000 matches you’ve played, which one stands out?
One of them I remember very well is from a long time ago when I beat Djokovic in Miami in 2008. Obviously I’ve played a lot of matches since then, but I was just out of college the year before and playing the Australian Open champion that year, there was a lot of people watching. That was just very exciting for me. 

Which player would you consider to be the toughest competitor in Masters 1000 history?
I think what’s really been incredible in terms of this crop of players, the top guys, as opposed to a decade or even two decades ago is how much importance and consistency they’ve placed on these Masters 1000 events. If you look at all the top guys who’ve done well – Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Murray as well – it’s really crazy to see how much emphasis and how well they perform. Novak is one title away in Cincinnati from winning all of them so he’s done an incredible job the last few years. 

What’s your favourite Masters 1000 court to play on?
Rome, Court 1 there with the statues (Stadio Pietrangeli). I’ve played a doubles match there, not singles, but if you play a local Italian there, it would be a pretty interesting match.  

Which Masters 1000 would you most want to win and why?
I think Miami. It’s got a very long history. I’ve been living in Florida for the last few years. I go down there and train a little bit, but I’d be happy with any of them.