Anderson slips down rankings
Kevin Anderson (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - A year which started with the invigorating prospect of South Africa reclaiming a place in the elite World Group of the Davis Cup after 13 years is plummeting in anti-climax with the country's top tennis player, Kevin Anderson, dropping dramatically to a 166th ATP world ranking.
The lanky Anderson hit the headlines last year when he accounted for world number three Novak Djokovic in a top-level Masters event and hopes were high that the 6ft 7in big server from Johannesburg would break into the top echelon of world players.
But Anderson's progress inexplicably became becalmed after making himself unavailable for the crucial Davis Cup tie against India which torpedoed South Africa's hopes of promotion to the Davis Cup World Group - and in the past two weeks his ATP ranking has plunged from 125th to 166th.
South Africans generally on the ATP circuit have experienced an unproductive year, with Davis Cup stalwart Rik De Voest now ranked 239th and likely to finish more than 50 places worse off than he started the year.
Third-ranked South African Izak van der Merwe has a 274th ATP ranking, Raven Klaasen is at 311th, Fritz Wolmerans is in 424th position and Andrew Anerson has progressed to 545th place.
All this after the South African Open was reinstated to the main segment of the ATP's World Tour this year - thereby providing local players with the opportunity of gleaning valuable ranking points on home courts.
A glimmer of encouragement has been the generally dominant form in doubles of Wesley Noodie, which has enabled him to finish the year as the world ninth-best doubles player.
But South Africa's other Davis Cup doubles specialist, Jeff Coetzee, has experienced a miserable tournament year and his ranking has slipped from 14th to 63rd - with De Voest now the second-best ranked South African doubles player in 47th place.