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