ATP Tour

Anderson inches closer to all-time SA ranking high

2018-02-26 13:35
Kevin Anderson (AP)

Cape Town - You would not expect a tennis player to improve his world ranking to a new high level while taking a week's break!

But this is exactly what happened on Monday when the ATP announced their latest world rankings and South Africa’s Kevin Anderson improved his career-best mark achieved last week of ninth to eighth - this after a week's break from tournaments after winning the New York Open 10 days ago.

And significantly, the 6-foot-8, big-serving Anderson will inch his world ranking closer to South Africa's all-time highest ranked men's tennis players in the process.

Heading the elite group ahead of Anderson are Eric Sturgess and Cliff Drysdale, who both achieved a world ranking of fourth during their distinguished careers - albeit before the official world rankings were introduced - followed by Kevin Curren who rose in the ATP world rankings to fifth; Wayne Ferreira in sixth place and Johan Kriek rising to seventh.

Meanwhile, in explaining Anderson's somewhat bizarre elevation to eighth place while only preparing for this week's Acapulco Open in Mexico, is the fact that while his own ranking points remained static, 2017 Delray Beach Open champion, Jack Sock, crashed out of the latest tournament in the first round and surrendered a huge chunk of points.

But it won't be easy for Anderson to now make further progress in the rankings, with the current seventh-placed David Goffin more than 400 points ahead of him - and a whole host of outstanding players sniffing to move up the rankings as well.

Incidentally, when it comes to South Africans who have won any Grand Slam singles titles, Kriek stands alone at this lofty peak with two Australian Open titles (1981 and 1982) to his credit - although the honour was achieved during a period in which the tournament had slumped because of financial constraints and administrative problems and most of the leading players elected not to play in the event.

Sturgess and Curren both reached two Grand Slam singles finals, with the immaculate Sturgess losing out in US Open final against the great Pancho Gonzales and also in the French Open final.

Curren was beaten in the Wimbledon final when he was a hot favourite against teenaged Boris Becker and he also reached the Australian Open final in 1984, losing to Swede Mats Wilander.

Anderson last year repeated Drysdale's 1965 feat in of reaching the US Open final and at 31 years of age could yet make progress in matching the South African tennis icons who currently boast rankings better than his own.

Note: Johan Kriek was an American citizen by the time he won his second Australian Open title in 1982, while Kevin Curren was an American citizen when he reached the 1985 Wimbledon final.

Read more on:    atp tour  |  sy lerman  |  kevin anderson  |  tennis
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