Getting Acquainted With... Kevin Anderson
by Matt Fitzgerald|
There’s something about Crandon Park that gets Kevin Anderson going.
In 2008, he defeated then defending Sony Ericsson Open champion Novak Djokovic in the second round for his first win over a Top 5 opponent. This year, he knocked out 2008 winner Nikolay Davydenko in straight sets to begin his tournament quest. He followed it up with a win over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the second round, and today, moved comfortably into the round of 16 by defeating Pablo Andujar 6-2, 6-3.
The South African is riding a wave of success so far in 2011, highlighted by his first ATP World Tour title in Johannesburg and a semi-final showing in Brisbane. We caught up with the 6’ 8’’ Anderson after his victory.
Miami has been your most successful ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event. What is it about this tournament that brings out your best tennis?
KA: First off, I really like the court surface. The balls bounce high and that plays well into my game style. Second, players have a good amount of time to prepare for the tournament. I’ve always felt fresh when I’ve played here as there is a bit of a gap between tournaments. Overall, it’s a fun tournament hosted in a great city.
On Friday, you played doubles with Ivo Karlovic against Marin Cilic and Ivan Ljubicic. Talk about that match and the difficulty in creating and converting break point opportunities when the average height of the four of you was 6’ 7’’.
KA: Yeah, it was pretty tough. I had a long singles match prior with Garcia-Lopez. I didn’t play my best, but they also returned really well… we didn’t serve as well as we needed to and struggled a bit on return. The overall serving performance by the four of us was not as good as one would have expected.
You discussed earlier in the week about playing college tennis at Illinois. What did you benefit most from by taking this route, as opposed to playing professionally full time?
KA: It was definitely the right decision for me. It enabled me to have a base here in the States, which was helpful during the summers as I could play pro tournaments in between the college seasons. South Africa was too far away to travel back and forth. But yeah, it helped me develop physically and focus on growing and improving my game. I was able to play a lot of matches during my time there.
In February, you won your first ATP World Tour title. How special was that week, especially considering it came in your home town at the event in Johannesburg?
KA: It was a wonderful week and like you said, doing it in South Africa was twice as special. All of my friends and family were there supporting me and the win went over well with the public. It was a great tournament.
Sports Hero: Pete Sampras
Breakfast Meal: Omelette, with spinach, mushrooms and feta cheese
Hobby: TV, when I get the chance
Tennis Venue: Miami!
Place To Go In Urbana-Champaign: KAM’S, a bar/restaurant
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