Anderson sets record straight
Kevin Anderson (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Kevin Anderson has taken to the Internet to clarify his reasons for electing not to play for South Africa in their crucial Davis Cup World Group playoff against Canada.
According to the supersport.com website, in an open letter on his blog, Anderson bemoans what he calls the misrepresentation of facts in the media, and feels it is now time to "set the record straight".
"I do not think forming opinions which are based on inaccurate information is fair or beneficial. Additionally, I've heard statements that are not only incorrect but also out of touch with the reality of professional tennis," he states.
He goes on the explain that several factors must be considered in order to be a successful tennis professional.
"Besides motivation and hard work, one needs to find a way to stay healthy. I have learned that this requires proper tournament scheduling and rest periods. Another major factor is having a strong support team. Due to the success I have experienced so far, I can finally afford to employ a fulltime coach and physiotherapist. However, as one can imagine this is very expensive.
"The prize money for someone with my ranking is not as much as you might expect when compared to the costs of life on tour. Tennis South Africa (TSA) has never provided financial support or funding to help cover the costs of playing on the tour."
Anderson says that he approached TSA requesting that they provide sufficient compensation to warrant the increased risk of injury, but that they were unwilling to do so.
"For this tie against Canada, TSA was not able to provide the support that justified me sacrificing my schedule and increasing my risk of injury. If I am injured during Davis Cup play, which happened last year, I receive no support, assistance or insurance from anybody.
"Of course playing for my country is a massive incentive to play, but I would be foolish not to weigh the consequences as well."
Anderson addressed the criticism levelled at his decision to play in the World Team Tennis finals, a lucrative exhibition event that takes place in the USA over the same weekend as South Africa's Davis Cup tie against Canada.
South African Davis Cup captain John-Laffnie de Jager described the decision as "shocking and inexplicable".
"I simply can't understand it," De Jager said.
In response, Anderson states that his decision to play WTT finals came months after he had resolved not to take part in the Davis Cup.
"The physical demands of WTT (which consists of a first to 5 games singles and doubles match) cannot be compared to a Davis Cup tie (which potentially involves 3 different 5 set matches over 3 days).
"It has been suggested in the press and by JL de Jager that I fabricated an injury to excuse myself from Davis Cup, while having the intention of playing WTT all along. Not only is this completely untrue and unrepresentative of the facts, but it is also impossible given that the WTT team I will play for had not qualified for the finals until early August."
Anderson points out that many other top players also choose to sit out the Davis Cup, and that discussions around possible changes to the format are ongoing.
"It is ridiculous that in addition to the already demanding tour schedule, there are on average three Davis Cup ties a year. I would like nothing more than to see a new Davis Cup format that would make it easier for all our best players to compete."
He concludes by stating that having a South African player succeed at ATP and Grand Slam events is just as important for the country as the Davis Cup.
"I am a proud South African and I don’t believe I have to prove this by sacrificial Davis Cup participation."