Cape Town - A one-week wonder - or an elite year-end world
ranking among the top 10 are the contrasting prospects confronting top South
African tennis player Kevin Anderson as he competes in his last official ATP
tournament of the year at the current Masters 1000 event in Paris.
Presently ranked 12th in the world, the towering, 6ft 8in
Anderson last month ended a 17-year drought when he became the first South African to be included among the
world's top 10 men's players since Wayne Ferreira achieved the feat in 1998.
But the big-serving Anderson's ranking among the top 10
players lasted a mere week and if he is to regain a much-sought year-end tenure,
he will need to come up with a string of impressive results in Paris.
Already in the second round after receiving a first-round
bye by virtue of his No 11 seeding, Anderson's opening encounter in Paris
will be against the 20th-ranked prospect Dominic Thiem.
But should Anderson overcome the tricky challenge of the
up-and-coming Austrian prospect, looming as a potential third-round opponent is
Rafael Nadal, should the legendary 14-times Spanish Grand Slam winner account for Czech Lukas
Rosol in the second round.
And, looking further ahead, world No 4 Stan Wawrinka
is a potential quarter-final opponent should Anderson still be around in the
With nine of the world's year-ending top 10 players
seemingly already decided behind runaway No 1 Novak Djokovic, the final
position in Paris will amount to an intriguing dog fight between Jo-Wilfried
Tsonga, currently in the No 10 position with 2 545 ranking points;
11th-placed Marin Cilic on 2 485 points; the 12th-ranked Anderson on 2 475 points and 13th-ranked American John Isner an outsider
on 2 360 points.
Another fascinating battle in Paris in relation to the final
world rankings behind Djokovic is that between second-placed Roger Federer and
third-placed Andy Murray for the year-end number two spot.
But this issue is only likely to be settled after the
eight-player ATP World Finals in London and the Davis Cup Final between Great
Britain and Belgium later in the month.