Anderson opens up after Djokovic defeat

2015-07-08 13:19
Kevin Anderson (File, AFP)

Cape Town - South Africa's No 1 Kevin Anderson talks about his agonising five-set defeat to world No 1 Novak Djokovic in the fourth round at Wimbledon.

As it happened: Kevin Anderson v Novak Djokovic fifth set

QUESTION: Talk about the overriding feelings after coming so close and not quite making it.

KEVIN ANDERSON: Obviously quite tough. I think quite a few mixed emotions. I mean, obviously there's a lot of positives to take from that, being in a position two sets to love up. Coming today, I think really gave myself a good shot.  I played some good tennis. You know, tennis is tough like that. But, you know, on the flipside, also disappointing. I mean, yeah, coming into this week, it was definitely my goal to progress further than I have at the slams. Been in the Round of 16 a few times. Came a lot closer this time than I have in the past. But just wasn't close enough.

QUESTION: Do you think your moment was actually last night, was that the key moment?

KEVIN ANDERSON: No, I think it was actually more today a little bit. Obviously played a great two first sets. The third and the fourth set wasn't as good. The temperature dropped quite a bit. I wasn't feeling as loose and free as I was in the first two. I was really sort of struggling. Just had flow, especially on my serve. In the fourth, it was really just try to keep it as long as I can, especially when I went down sort of that early break, to get through the day. I mean, coming out today, had a couple breakpoints. I thought I was playing really good tennis. I mean, I think I had maybe a couple more chances today than I did in the third or fourth sets.

QUESTION: The fourth game today when you had the two breakpoints, anything you could have done there?

KEVIN ANDERSON: I just remember the one pretty clearly. I mean, I didn't really feel like it was a massive opportunity. I mean, I thought I hit a pretty good slice off the one shot, kept it really low. He was able to cover it really well. It was one of those matches I didn't feel - was really close. Tough scoreline. Tough throughout the whole match. I didn't feel like I had sort of glaring opportunities or points that I really should have won with easy shots. I think he played the big points very well.

QUESTION: He (Djokovic) said afterwards it was probably his hardest match at Wimbledon.

KEVIN ANDERSON: That's obviously nice to hear. I really gave it all. I thought I played some really good tennis. Stuck to what I was trying to do the whole match. I feel like I've had a very good grass court season this year. Definite improvements from last year's. Yeah, it's always tough. Definitely wanted to win the match. As always, I just try to take the positives and just keep improving.

QUESTION: You haven't taken a single set off him since 2008. Did you change something? 

KEVIN ANDERSON: No, I mean, I wasn't trying to do anything different. Just a continuation on how I've been playing, what I've been trying to work on. I think it's definite evidence to me. Definitely I feel like I'm on the right path in the stuff I'm doing, all the things that I'm doing. Just got to keep working on them. You know, just from the grass courts itself, obviously last week and this week, had some good results. I don't really feel like I'm doing anything outside of what I'm trying to work on and improve on on the practice courts.

QUESTION: Were you feeling that maybe he was getting nervous and frustrated at some point in this match?

KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, well, I think there were a couple times I saw him being a bit frustrated. I was obviously serving well.  I mean, that was my goal, to try and be aggressive and try to keep him out of his comfort zone. If he was that, the way I was playing was definitely, you know, working.

QUESTION: Having played Djokovic today and Murray at Queen's in the final, how do you assess their potential match-up in the final?

KEVIN ANDERSON: Well, I definitely felt more comfortable, and I think I was more settled playing Novak than I was against Andy. Lost a couple early breaks to Andy. He served well. Didn't have too many looks there. It's kind of tough to sort of put them against each other just based on my experiences against playing both of them. Obviously I play very different to both of them. They're both playing good tennis. There's a lot of matches that they have to play a lot of good tennis. If they get to the finals. If they do, it will obviously be a very exciting match.

QUESTION: How difficult is it at the end of the fifth set to be playing Novak, even though your game is on, but how hard is it at that moment to get broken?

KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, playing him is tough. I felt like I was in the match, but he just keeps on coming, just makes so many balls. I felt I was hitting some really good second serves. I needed to be more aggressive. A couple times I saw I hit it over 120. He hit the return, you know, right back at me. I think that's one area I needed to do better today, that second-serve exchange, the points I won on my second serve and what he did. At the end, I think we were really even going throughout that whole of the first set. The couple double-faults didn't help my cause in the end. Had a couple small opportunities in that last game at Love-30. I missed a couple second-serve returns. Small margins make a difference in a match like that.

QUESTION: The gap has definitely closed between you and the top guys. Do you feel you do belong now with the top guys?

KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, that's been obviously a big goal of mine, to try and get up there. I feel like I've got the game.  I do a lot of things, I feel, just in terms of taking care of details off the court. I think they're a definite testament to me, just my own belief of the tennis I can play is definitely amongst the best in the world. Obviously had a really close match against the best player in the world. It's bitter sweet in obviously losing the match. I just have to take the positives because there were definitely a lot of them from this match and over the last few weeks, as well.

QUESTION: Were you surprised for the majority of the rallies you were actually on the baseline and Novak was pushed back?

KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, I knew from the baseline exchanges that I had to be aggressive. I felt that I was able to keep him at bay for, you know, a lot of them. I've always believed in my game from the back. I grew up playing from the baseline. I mean, I've worked more coming forward. Thought I was moving very well out there today. That's definitely the baseline exchanges I want to be playing, where I didn't feel like I was doing anything out of the ordinary. Obviously keeping good depth is important against him. As soon as he starts moving the ball around, it becomes difficult. That was definitely key for me today.

QUESTION: Coming into this tournament you're 10th in the race. That means you're in a position to get back here in November. You need a much better second half of the year than you've had in recent years. What has made your form dip in the second half of the year in recent years? What makes you think that you can keep up this level to November?

KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, it's obviously a good place to be in at this point of the year. It's the highest I've been after being at Wimbledon. Still a bit of a gap. I think Nadal is eighth or somewhere around there. But there's a pretty big difference. To have a serious shot at coming back, making the Masters, which is obviously a huge goal, it would be a great achievement, definitely some big results. I think last year I had some good results.  Maybe not the consistency that I need at the end of the year, but a couple quarters at some Masters, Paris and Montréal. Yeah, it's tough to say.  Each tournament's different.  I mean, you know, looking at the season and where I'm going, I mean, I enjoy playing in the U.S., so I'm excited about that. I have had I think mixed results in the European and Asian swing. I'm not going to be thinking about previous years. I never try to do that. I just try to take care of what I can do. Make sure I'm scheduling proper breaks in between, working on the right things. I feel like if I keep up this tennis and the right mindset, I mean, regardless of what's happened in the past, I feel I'm going to give myself the best shot of finishing the year as high as I can.

QUESTION: Who would be your tip for the title and why?

KEVIN ANDERSON: I mean, I wish I could give you a more interesting answer than the obvious names. It's hard to look past them. You know, it will be really interesting to see what progresses. But, I mean, it would be really hard to pick outside of Andy, you know, Novak obviously. If I had to pick one, I would just be guessing. You could probably guess as well as I could.

QUESTION: A lot of the big-serving guys have been having an impact, the way it used to be. Do you see any explanation for that?

KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I'm not sure. I mean, obviously it was a bit of a theme in the Queen's and Halle weeks, where there was a lot of dominant serving, a lot of aces being hit. I mean, I personally didn't feel there was a massive difference in the conditions. Just from my personal side, I felt I was serving well. What I need to do to serve well, having good rhythm, things like that, I was doing well. I didn't feel like the grass was any faster than previous years.  I don't know if other players have experienced different things. That extra week makes a difference.  I feel like this year it's just been a little easier to transition from the other surfaces and just adjust to the courts a little bit better. Maybe just one of those years where a lot of guys are just serving well.

QUESTION: You receive a lot of support on social media, famous golfer. Here with the crowd, did you feel especially yesterday they were going crazy for you? How is this experience for you?

KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, the atmosphere was great playing out there. I feel like both of us had good support. I think the crowd was just appreciative of us both giving it our alls. It was a close match. At times there was a lot of support for me. It was great. But just through the whole week, even when I was playing on the outside courts, there was a lot of support. It was really fantastic this year. There seemed to be a lot of South Africans around. I've really enjoyed that side of this year's Championships.

Read more on:    wimbledon  |  kevin anderson  |  tennis

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