Cape Town - Kevin Anderson has been foiled in his bid for a
prized year-end top 10 world ranking as a result of his third-round defeat
against Rafael Nadal in the Paris Masters tournament - the big-serving South
African's last official ATP event of the year.
Anderson, however, will still maintain his ranking of 12th
after starting the year in 16th place, with some consolation in the fact that
he squeezed briefly into the top 10 for one week to become the first South
African to achieve this feat in 18 years after progressing to the
quarter-finals of the US Open.
But, perhaps, more significant for South Africa's No 1
player during a largely auspicious 2015 was his striking improvement in most
departments of the game - although he remained prone at times to allow the
prospect of key victories to slip from his grasp.
Evidence of this was the critical game against Nadal in
Paris during which Anderson held a match
point against the 14-times Grand Slam champion.
But the 29-year-old Anderson demonstrated his enhanced
stature during the year by securing notable victories during the year against
renowned players of the calibre of Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.
However, South Africa's only world-class singles player has
provided no evidence that he intends ending a four-year unavailability from
representing his country in Davis Cup competition - something which, in
accordance with Davis Cup rules, will also prevent him from participating in
the Olympic Games in Brazil next year.
With nine of the world's year-ending top 10 players
seemingly already decided behind runaway No 1 Novak Djokovic before the
Paris Masters, the final position loomed as a dog-fight between Jo-Wilfried
Tsonga, John Isner, Anderson and Marin Cilic - with Tsonga
ultimately holding onto the No 10 spot and Isner ending up in 11th place.
Another fascinating battle in Paris in relation to the final
world rankings behind Djokovic is that Murray has now edged ahead of Roger
Federer for second position.
However this issue will only be settled after the
eight-player ATP World Finals in London and the Davis Cup Final between Great
Britain and Belgium take place later in the month.