Wimbledon glory beckons SA duo
ARE you ready for a delicious double scoop of glory at Wimbledon? Because that is the treat that could be in store for South Africans in what is shaping to be an absolute cracker of a sporting weekend.
On Wednesday, Kevin Anderson shocked the tennis world by coming back from a seemingly hopeless position to beat Roger Federer, the man who wears the label “greatest of all time” with such ease, to reach the semifinals.
And yesterday, another South African, Capetonian Raven Klaasen, stormed into the Wimbledon doubles final when he and his partner, Kiwi Michael Venus, beat Joe Salisbury of England and Frederik Nielsen of Denmark.
Anderson made the final of the US Open last year, but he will be hoping to thrill all South Africans by lifting his first major title on the hallowed green grass of Wimbledon.
“I have already have tons of messages from support back home. It’s not easy coming from South Africa, it’s very far from the tennis scene. I really hope this will be an example for people of sticking to your dreams and keep believing in yourself,” said Anderson.
In congratulating Anderson, President Cyril Ramaphosa tweeted: “Congratulations to Kevin Anderson for reaching the men’s singles semi-finals and to Raven Klaasen for reaching the men’s doubles semi-finals at Wimbledon. All the best to Kgothatso Montjane, who’s going to become first SA black woman to play at Wimbledon. We are proud of you all.”
Anderson today meets the big-serving American John Isner in the semi-final, who he knows very well from their days together on the American college circuit.
And if Anderson can get past Isner, he will be going eyeball to eyeball with another titan of tennis – either Rafa Nadal or Novak Djokovic, who meet in the other semi-final.
As for doubles specialist Klaasen, this will be his second shot at a major title. He reached the final of the Australian Open in 2014. Can he go all the way this time?
Anderson and Klaasen may not be the only fairy-tale stories of the weekend. When the Fifa World Cup started in Russia three weeks ago, very few people would have given Croatia a realistic chance of making the final.
Yet the brave fighters of Croatia are now geared to square off with traditional superpower France in Sunday’s showpiece.
With Brazil, Argentina, Germany and others licking their wounds at home, France will be heavy favourites to triumph at one of the great occasions in all of sport – a World Cup soccer final.
But what a story it would be if Croatia scalp yet another big name. The country of around 4 million people came to a standstill as Croatians watched their team. For instance, in Zagreb, the capital, more than 10 000 people gathered in the central square to watch the match on giant screens despite rainy weather.
Of course, if you want more than just tennis and football, there is also the small matter of the most glamorous of all cycling events, the Tour de France, which is now in its second week.
And “what about us?” Proteas captain Faf du Plessis might be saying. His team are currently doing battle with Sri Lanka, where Dale Steyn is pushing hard to break Shaun Pollock’s record for the most Test wickets.
If you don’t have a television, find a friend who has one. And sit back and enjoy one of the great sporting weekends of the year.