Cape Town - Despite recapturing a glimmer of his best form in recent tournaments, top South African tennis player Kevin Anderson has slipped out of the top 50 in the world rankings for the first time in six years.
The latest rankings released by the ATP this week have the big-serving Anderson in 52nd place - a far cry from the 12th position in which he started the year.
What is more, after another first-round loss in the Vienna ATP tournament on Tuesday when he went down 4-6, 7-6 (7/5) 7-5 to Serbian Viktor Troicki, the descending Anderson will drop to 56th place or even lower next week.
And he needs to defend a substantial slice of points gained last year in order not to slip further down the rankings before the end of the current season.
Is the decline no more than a bad trot aggravated by a succession of early-year injuries, with a comeback on the cards in 2017?
Or has the 30-year-old Anderson reached a zenith point in challenging strongly for ATP titles after accumulating three such titles?
Anderson has become involved in an innovative, online coaching programme and this may also prove a distraction to his own on-court achievements.
Also, up to this juncture, he has provided no evidence of ending a five-year, self-imposed exile from representing South Africa in the Davis Cup.
In contrast to Anderson's downward slide, South Africa's second-highest ranked player, the promising, 19-year-old Lloyd Harris, this week climbed to a 306th world ranking, with the prospect of breaking the 300 barrier next week and finishing in the region of 286th.
Unfortunately, however, Tennis South Africa has not provided the country's best young prospect with the kind of committed support his talent warrants to make a major march up the ranking ladder by competing in Challenger events instead of the third-tier Futures tournaments in which he has been playing - an essential gateway for anyone ultimately playing on the ATP's premier World Tour circuit.