Cape Town - Kevin Anderson is overawed by the support he’s received from fellow South Africans after reaching the US Open semi-finals.
The South African No 1 beat American Sam Querrey 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (9/11), 6-3, 7-6 (9/7) in their quarter-final clash to reach the last four of a Grand Slam for the first time.
The last South African to reach the semi-finals of a Grand Slam was Wayne Ferreira at the 2003 Australian Open.
Anderson will also have the chance to become the first South African to make the US Open final since Cliff Drysdale in 1965, when the tournament was called the US National Championships.
In his post-match press conference, Anderson said he had received a text message from Ferreira after his victory, as well as from prominent South African golfers Ernie Els and Louis Oosthuizen.
Els, a four-time major winner in golf, was himself a keen tennis player in his younger days.
“I just breezed through my phone. I saw a message from Wayne Ferreira, which is great... I saw a quick message from Ernie Els, one of the golfing legends, Louis Oosthuizen, a couple of golfers I've met just from our location in Florida. I just heard I'm the first South African in the Open era to get to the semis here - my first sort of South African record. I feel pretty proud about that,” Anderson was quoted as saying by the ATP’s official website.
Els also took to Twitter to heap praise on Anderson:
Anderson hopes his run in New York could inspire more South Africans to take up tennis.
“I have got a ton of messages from friends and family back home. My biggest hope is that I'm able to inspire kids to play the sport. It's very tough coming from South Africa, far from the scene. It makes me feel good that I can hopefully fly a flag and show kids that if you work hard you can get there.”
In Friday's semi-finals, Anderson will take on 12th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain. The winner of that match will reach his first Grand Slam final.
Carreno Busta advanced with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory over 29th seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.
Anderson holds a 2-0 head-to-head record against Carreno Busta.
“We played recently. It was a tough match, really windy that day. Both of us struggled for rhythm,” Anderson said.
“This is new ground for both of us. There will be adjustments we both have to make.”