Anderson: "I Need To Trust My Game"
Continual improvement helps South African back into the Top 10
Kevin Anderson knows that no matter how many years you have played tennis, you never stop learning. After 10 years as a professional and close to 500 matches, the hard-working South African remains a student of the game.
“I need to trust my game and trust the process,” said Anderson. “It’s something I’m still working on. I’m trying to allow myself to be more free on the court and really trust my abilities. It’s something you have to do.
“When you first come on Tour, and play guys you’ve seen on TV, you almost feel like your game is not as good as a [Rafael] Nadal or a [Roger] Federer. But I’m now at a stage where I can play my best tennis, when it matters the most. It comes from experience, but I’m still learning and improving.”
At Indian Wells this week, 6’8” Anderson will be found on a practice court training for hours on end. Fine turning his game, centred on a serve that has fired down 5,837 aces since he turned professional in 2007.
“Bigger guys do seem to have a pretty big advantage on serve, because of the ability to find better angles, where you can hit and the pace you can generate,” said Anderson. “Now some of the bigger guys are matching the physicality.
“The challenges I face come down to movement and balance. It can be used in an advantageous way, covering the court with fewer strides. I learned to play tennis from the baseline, so my movement is better there, but I do also work very hard in coming forward.”
Having spent one week in the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings (at No. 10) on 12 October 2015, injuries and time off the ATP World Tour saw him drop to as low as No. 80 on 16 January 2017. But now back in the Top 10, Anderson is competing with confidence once more.
On U.S. soil, his home for the past decade, he has reached nine of his 16 tour-level finals. Over the course of the next 11 days, he will attempt to break his 0-8 record in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-finals. First up though, seventh seed Anderson will play a Russian, Karen Khachanov or Evgeny Donskoy, in Indian Wells.