Anderson hopes to go one better in US Open
UNLIKE the land of his birth, Kevin Anderson’s annual financial statements for 2018 are in rude health, and his trip on Thursday evening to the New York Stock Exchange may have included an inquiry as to where to invest this year’s earnings.
With prize-money on the year standing at nearly $3.25-million (R46m), ahead of the last Major of 2018, it’s been a fruitful period for the big South African, who along with Danish star Caroline Wozniacki was given the honour of ringing the closing bell at the NYSE.
The 32-year-old is back in the ‘Big Apple’ where he announced himself a year ago as being fit to operate among the sport’s elite with a stunning run to the final of the US Open.
Seeded 28, Anderson took advantage of a draw that opened up for him as higher seeds like, Marin Cilic and Alex Zverev fell by the wayside to qualify for the final where he lost in straight sets to Rafael Nadal.
Anderson has built on the confidence gained from that maiden Grand Slam final appearance and has had arguably his best year as a professional. He’s qualified for four tournament finals, including most memorably Wimbledon, won the New York Open in February and also played in the semifinal of the recent Masters 1000 event in Toronto. In addition he’s played in two other Masters 1000 quarterfinals this year, on clay, just to further underline why he is deserving of his elite status.
Anderson’s performances have attracted the attention of some of the most acclaimed players in the history of the sport. Australian legend Rod Laver told Reuters this week that he was among his top picks to win the US Open, along with Novak Djokovic and Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro.
“Kevin Anderson has got a lot to be proud of,” John McEnroe, a four-time US Open champion, said this week. “He got to the final last year and he backed it up with a great run at Wimbledon.”
If Anderson has grown frustrated with his thwarted Grand Slam title efforts, it has hardly shown ahead of the tournament. “The experience and the confidence (last year’s tournament) gives me is very valuable,” he told CBS Sports. “I’m just really excited to get out there and give myself another good shot.”
Anderson is currently ranked fifth by the ATP and will hold that same seeding for the US Open that starts tomorrow. The South African needs to tread carefully however. Because of his run to the Open final last year, he’s got a large amount of ranking points – 1200 – to defend which will have an impact on whether he can qualify for the year-end ATP World Tour Finals, the prestigious tournament reserved for the top eight players of 2018 which will be played in London.
Anderson has accumulated 3270 points this year and is ranked at no.7 on the ATP’s ‘Race to London’ list, which is currently topped by Nadal. An early exit at the US Open could leave him in jeopardy of dropping out of contention for the World Tour Finals.
Anderson was handed a tricky draw on Thursday, opening against American Ryan Harrison, a 26-yearold currently ranked at 56 in the world. Harrison did beat Anderson the last time the pair met in Tokyo last year, and given it’s his home ‘Slam’ will be keen to prove a point.
Anderson is in Nadal’s quarter of the draw, meaning the two could have a rematch of last year’s final in the quarterfinals this time. Anderson is not the only one flying the South African flag in the main draw of the mens singles competition; on Friday 21 year old Capetonian Lloyd Harris qualified for his first Grand Slam.
Harris will face French veteran Gilles Simon.
Meanwhile Kgothatso Montjane, who garnered the country’s attention when she made it to the semifinal of the wheelchair event at Wimbledon, will also compete in New York next week. The 32-yearold secured about R1.5-million from 10 different sponsors to help fund her trip. “The Grand Slams are only the best in the world and it is going to be challenging,” she said.