An­der­son hopes for the best af­ter marathon match

Sunday Times - - Sport Cricket/tennis - By By CRAIG RAY

● Af­ter six hours and 35 min­utes of an epic Wim­ble­don semi­fi­nal Kevin An­der­son’s team will use ev­ery minute to pre­pare him, both men­tally and phys­i­cally, for his first fi­nal at SW19 to­day.

Fri­day’s 7-6 6-7 6-7 6-4 26-24 win over John Is­ner was the sec­ond-long­est match in grand slam his­tory and the long­est match yet on Cen­tre Court. An­der­son, 32, is now in a race to be ready for the fi­nal against No­vak Djokovic.

“The most im­por­tant per­son on our team right now is the physio,” An­der­son’s coach Brad Stine told the Sun­day Times from Lon­don. “We are all mak­ing sure Kevin is re­cov­er­ing prop­erly — nu­tri­tion, sleep and hy­dra­tion are vi­tal.

“We will have a short hit to­day (Satur­day) but the length of Fri­day’s match is not an ad­van­tage. With Rafa and No­vak there are no se­crets, we’ve all seen these guys play a mil­lion times. It doesn’t mat­ter who it is, it’s gore­turns ing to be a huge chal­lenge.”

Stine be­lieves in An­der­son’s un­ful­filled po­ten­tial, even at the rel­a­tively ad­vanced aged of 31.

An­der­son has won an ATP ti­tle in New York un­der Stine and now reached his sec­ond grand slam fi­nal fol­low­ing last year’s US Open fi­nal ap­pear­ance.

Stine, who coached for­mer World No 1 and grand slam win­ner Jim Courier, liked the raw ma­te­rial but has made some tech­ni­cal ad­just­ments to An­der­son’s game. He won’t elab­o­rate.

An­der­son beat eight-time Wim­ble­don cham­pion Roger Fed­erer in a five-set quar­ter­fi­nal thriller on Wed­nes­day be­fore out­last­ing Is­ner. Nei­ther op­po­nent’s serve had been bro­ken at the tour­na­ment prior to fac­ing An­der­son.

“We have made a cou­ple of small tech­ni­cal ad­just­ments that have paid big div­i­dends,” Stine says. “Tac­ti­cally we needed a clearer con­cept of what his best pat­terns of play are and how he can cre­ate po­si­tions where he’s forc­ing guys to play the way he wants them to and mak­ing them deal with him. He can do it eas­ily off his serve but he’s re­turn­ing ex­tremely well, which was a key fo­cus early on. We had to change the paradigm of his own think­ing in re­la­tion to and think­ing and pic­tur­ing him­self as a good re­turner.”

The first five months un­der Stine have been en­cour­ag­ing with An­der­son set to en­ter the top five in the world rank­ings re­gard­less of to­day’s re­sult.

“First of all you have to give all the coaches who have worked with Kevin credit, which in­cludes Neville God­win,” man­ager Stu­art Duguid told the Sun­day Times.

“But Brad has coached grand slam win­ners in the past and knows what it takes, and seen what it takes to edge these matches. He has brought a fresh per­spec­tive.”

An­der­son is also set to ben­e­fit com­mer­cially from his run.

“Be­ing in the top five there are ap­pear­ance fees at cer­tain tour­na­ments while the con­tracts he has in place with Lotto and Srixon have per­for­mance-clause bonuses that are sig­nif­i­cant when you reach a grand slam fi­nal,” Duguid says.

“And there will be new busi­ness based on his suc­cess too.”

I need a lot of treat­ment in terms of get­ting the body back bal­anced and stuff but . . . sleep is im­por­tant

Kevin An­der­son Wim­ble­don fi­nal­ist

Pic­ture: Reuters

South Africa's long-dis­tance ten­nis player Kevin An­der­son whips in a fore­hand dur­ing his semi­fi­nal match at Wim­ble­don on Fri­day against John Is­ner of the US.

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