It’s in Kevin’s hands now, says An­der­son’s mom

Sunday Times - - Front Page - By SUTHENTIRA GOVENDER and LIAM DEL CARME

● Bar­bara An­der­son doesn’t be­lieve in lucky charms, but she will re­cite a pri­vate prayer be­fore her son Kevin An­der­son steps onto Wim­ble­don’s cen­tre court to­day in a bid to win the pres­ti­gious Grand Slam ti­tle.

South Africans have their hopes pinned on the hum­ble An­der­son win­ning the men’s sin­gles tro­phy when he meets Serb No­vak Djokovic.

An­der­son and his semi­fi­nal op­po­nent, John Is­ner, had ten­nis fans around the world on the edge of their seats on Fri­day night with their marathon per­for­mance.

Eighth-seeded An­der­son emerged vic­to­ri­ous af­ter six hours and 35 min­utes, the first South African to reach the Wim­ble­don fi­nals in 97 years.

Speak­ing from the All Eng­land Ten­nis Club on Satur­day, Bar­bara said she was qui­etly con­fi­dent about her el­dest son’s chances of clinch­ing the ti­tle.

“Just reach­ing the fi­nals is such a huge achieve­ment. The rest Kevin will take care of. It’s in his hands now,” she said.

An­der­son said he was “def­i­nitely hun­gry to go a step fur­ther”.

In an in­ter­view with the As­so­ci­a­tion of Tour Pro­fes­sion­als af­ter the semi­fi­nal, he said: “I’m go­ing to have to pay a lot of at­ten­tion to my re­cov­ery to try and give my­self the best shot pos­si­ble.

“Ob­vi­ously, I need a lot of treat­ment in terms of get­ting the body bal­anced and stuff, but at the same time ob­vi­ously sleep is im­por­tant too . . . My feet are sore, they’re

swollen. The legs are pretty jelly-like.”

His semi­fi­nal vic­tory fol­lowed a five-set win over Roger Fed­erer in the quar­ter­fi­nal.

Touch­ing on the his­toric semi­fi­nal, Bar­bara, who has been by her son’s side for a month, de­scribed it as sur­real.

“Watch­ing for more than six hours, you even­tu­ally don’t know what you’re think­ing. All I knew was that Kevin would be try­ing his best. It was such a tough match . . .

Words can’t de­scribe how I was feel­ing when he won. I was speech­less and over­whelmed.”

An­der­son’s fa­ther Mike — who has coached An­der­son, 32 , since he was six, will be watch­ing the fi­nal in Jo­han­nes­burg.

“Mike’s thoughts will be here with us. He feels he has done enough. It’s now up to Kevin,” said Bar­bara.

St Stithi­ans Col­lege, the Jo­han­nes­burg pri­vate school An­der­son at­tended, will host a screen­ing of the match on its grounds.

Bar­bara, An­der­son’s wife, Kelsey O’Neal, and his brother Greg will be root­ing for him from the side­lines.

One of his other cheer­lead­ers will be his dog Ladykady, who trav­els the world with him and his wife.

An­der­son, who was born in Jo­han­nes­burg, is the first South African to reach the men’s sin­gles fi­nal since Brian Nor­ton in 1921. Dur­ban-born Kevin Cur­ren reached the 1985 fi­nal but by then he was a US cit­i­zen.

An­der­son will soon hold dual South African and US cit­i­zen­ship.

Kevin An­der­son

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