Johannesburg - After breaking into the top 10 Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) world rankings, experts believe Kevin Anderson’s tennis standing could still improve.
Winning the New York Open last week earned the South African tennis player 250 points. This was enough to see him reach his career best position as he jumped from number 11 to nine in the latest singles rankings.
The 31-year-old’s previous best ranking was at number 10 back in 2015.
Former ATP player and Tennis SA high performance consultant coach Jeff Coetzee believes Anderson can still go up a few spots.
“Looking at the number of points separating him from those above him, I think he can close the gap and overtake some of them,” said Coetzee.
“But to get to position five or six will be a huge task, unless he wins the Indian Wells and Miami Masters because they have more points. He just has to keep looking after his body and be smart when winning. [He must] not chase points all the time, but be fresh and peak in the bigger events,” he added.
However, he said Anderson’s chances of reaching the number one spot were slim.
“That is a very tough task that can only be achieved by winning at least two grand slams this year and being consistent in the third slam.”
Tennis analyst Bruce Davidson said Anderson’s chances of a higher ranking would depend on his fitness.
“I think he can get to sixth place, but he has to be consistent,” said Davidson.
He said the elbow injury that has plagued the tennis star could scupper his chances of capitalising on the upcoming tournaments.
“There are the Miami Open, Indian Wells and Cincinnati Masters coming up, which he could do well in. But he is not 100% fit, which is what concerns me,” Davidson said.
Anderson had to pull out of the Delray Beach Open owing to an injury he suffered during the New York Open final, in which he beat Sam Querrey 4-6, 6-3 and 7-6.
On his way to the final of his fourth ATP title, he began his campaign with a 3-6, 6-4 and 7-6 win over Ernesto Escobedo.
He beat Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 5-7 and 6-4 in the quarter-final before out-muscling Kei Nishikori to reach the finals.
Davidson hinted that Anderson could reach the world number eight spot tomorrow, when the latest ATP rankings are announced.
Anderson’s memorable run to the final of the US Open, which he lost to Spaniard Rafael Nadal, was the start of his climb back into the top 10.