One of the finest African tennis players of all time has announced his retirement from the sport.
Kevin Anderson will be best known for his run to two Grand Slam finals, losing out to Rafa Nadal in the 2017 US Open final and Novak Djokovic a year later at Wimbledon.
Ranked 107 in the world at the time of his retirement and not known for his love of clay, the 35-year-old was not amongst the favourites in the French Open betting odds but still would have been a handful for anybody given the ferocity of his serve – standing 6ft 8in tall, Anderson was able to create some serious angles when serving.
Confirming his retirement from the sport, Anderson said: “Tennis carried me far beyond my roots in Johannesburg, South Africa and truly gave me the world. I’ve experienced so many different challenges and emotions; this sport can be exhilarating and at the same time lonely.”
A note for everyone who has been a part of my tennis journey. (1-4/5) pic.twitter.com/atueKpob84
— Kevin Anderson (@KAndersonATP) May 3, 2022
That last part was one of the reasons Ashleigh Barty gave for her perceived premature retirement at the age of 25, and you can see why some – like Anderson – simply have enough of the travel and homesickness that comes with being a globe-trotting athlete.
The statuesque right-hander also suffered from his fair share of injuries too, and few would have bounced back from the serious knee surgery that he underwent in 2020 – Anderson not only returned to the circuit but won his seventh ATP Tour event the following year.
That’s confirmation of his determination to succeed and his sticking power – two attributes that have served Anderson well during a 15-year career at the elite level. It’s fair to say he’s earned a rest…
Serving It Up
A career packed with silverware and great moments will forever be remembered for those two Grand Slam final appearances… and the strength-sapping, almost record-breaking semi-final Anderson played against John Isner at Wimbledon in 2018.
Two giant men with humongous serves were hardly likely to deliver a classic, and yet this was a match of incredible tension and entertainment – which of the players would crack first?
As became his trademark, Anderson refused to cede an inch, and after six hours and 36 minutes – the second-longest contest in Wimbledon history – it was he who prevailed 26-24 in a near three-hour long deciding set.
— Sky Sports Tennis (@SkySportsTennis) July 13, 2018
That win saw Anderson become the first South African to reach the Wimbledon final since Brian Norton some 97 years earlier, and he also reached new heights when bursting into the top five of the world rankings – Kevin Curren was the previous African to achieve the feat 33 years prior.
For all his success in majors, perhaps Anderson’s most enjoyable moment in tennis came way back in 2011. He won his first ATP Tour title, the South African Open, in his hometown of Johannesburg, and that must have been a victory that he will never forget.
“I’ve had ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change it for anything,” Anderson revealed in his retirement speech. “My journey helped me become the man who I am today.”
It’s time to put those rather sizable feet up…