French Open

Anderson faces crisis of confidence

2016-05-26 15:11
Kevin Anderson (AFP)

Cape Town - Anyone who has ever held a tennis racquet in the palm of his hand will know there is nothing like an ongoing succession of defeats to erode confidence and provide a sleepless night or two.

And, safe to say, top South African player Kevin Anderson must now be immersed in what could be termed a crisis of confidence following his first-round exit from the prestigious and colourful French Open Grand Slam event at Roland Garros this week at the hands of 90th-ranked, 36-year-old Stephane Robert.

Far from an isolated upset, the latest setback  against the veteran Frenchman is the latest in an ongoing trend for the 6ft 8in Anderson in a year in which he has been dogged by injuries and inconsistent form which have resulted in his ATP world ranking declining from 12th to 20th since January.

This statistic, however, hardly reflects the eroding decline of the 30-year-old Anderson after winning only three matches in seven tournaments in which he has competed in 2016 and failing to win more than one match in any of these events while going down to moderately-ranked opponents in several instances.

The net result is that in the matter of accumulating ranking points this year alone - which the ATP categorises as the race to their year-end final - Anderson has tumbled down the ladder to a relatively ignominious and disturbing 165th position.

On a more encouraging and optimistic note, however, is the fact that the grasscourt segment on the international tennis calendar is now looming and this is a surface on which the big-serving Anderson has achieved some of the best results in his career - remembering too that he had world No 1 Novak Djokovic against the ropes before losing in five sets at Wimbledon last year.

But this is where the very real bogey of a crisis of confidence comes into the picture, with Anderson's mental approach rather than the remnants of his past shoulder, knee and ankle problems.

That could be the real test and a creditable performance in his first tournament on grass could be the beginning of a consolidated revival for Anderson.

Failing this, the crisis of confidence, if not halted, is inclined only to get worse.

Read more on:    atp tour  |  french open  |  kevin anderson  |  tennis

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