Losers can be
Top South African tennis player Kevin Anderson proved as much this
week when he improved his ATP world ranking from 17th to 16th immediately after
jarring losses against lesser opponents in his opening games of his last two
Seeking to adjust to European clay court conditions
before the prestigious French Open grand slam event at Roland Garros later this
month, the 28-year-old, big-serving Anderson went down 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in his first
match in Portugal's Millennium Open against the 28th-ranked Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, before losing 6-4, 6-3 to
57th-ranked Simone Bolelli in the first round of the Madrid Open.
The ATP explained the anomaly of Anderson's rise in the
rankings despite a drop in his overall ranking points, which are accumulated
over the previous 12 month period, to the fact that other players had shed more
points than the 6-foot-8 South African.
"This gave Kevin the opportunity to move up in the
rankings despite his losses," added the ATP, "although in the
long-term it will obviously be detrimental to improving his position."
Anderson has a career-best world ranking of 15th, with
his coach, former Davis Cup player, Neville Godwin, having stated at the start
of the year that the objective would now
be to further improve his charge to become the first South African since Wayne
Ferreira to break into the world's Top 10.
However, Anderson now faces a difficult task in holding
onto his present ranking, particularly as he will be defending substantial
points in the forthcoming French Open and Wimbledon in which he progressed to
the last 16 on both occasions.
And early losses in these two prestige events will mean a
drop in the rankings - unlike the bizarre events of the past weeks when losing
resulted in winning.