Cape Town - When nothing has looked as though it could get
worse for Kevin Anderson's tennis career in a nightmare 2016, it simply has
gone and done just that!
After knee and shoulder injuries kept him out of a major portion
of the early ATP circuit this year, he has now undergone ankle surgery.
And while South Africa's top player optimistically describes
it as "a very minor procedure" to fit in with the period in which he
is undergoing recuperation for his shoulder ailment, surgery by any name is
He has disturbingly won only one ATP game all year and seen
his world ranking slip from 12th to 17th, while certain to drop further to at
least 18th next time new rankings are released.
Anderson is also down to miss Masters tournaments in Miami
and probably Monte Carlo, while earmarked to return to tennis midway through
next month on clay courts which is hardly his best and most accommodating
The 29-year-old big server, who started the year with high
hopes of cementing a place in the elite top 10 world rankings instead finds
himself with the challenging task of staying in the top 20 and overcoming an
endless sequence of misfortune.
He has won only one game in three interrupted tournament
appearances in 2016, beating Robin Haase in the early-season Auckland Open
before going down to gritty American Jack Sock.
This was followed by first-round retirements against Rajeev
Ram in the Australian Open and Austin
Krajiicek at Delray Beach - two lower-ranked opponents he would have been expected to beat relevantly comfortably under
Anderson, in addition, did not make it to the first round in
the Chennai Open and the Memphis Open, withdrawing from these tournaments
because of his recurring injuries.
So where does he go from here?
To his credit, Anderson has demonstrated unwavering optimism and confidence about
sorting out all the injuries that have blighted him this year and coming back
in the pink of health and with his old form intact.
He would not be the first player to return to tennis with a
bang after shaking off injuries.
But it's never easy - and there is a psychological aspect to
overcome in addition to getting your body back into shape.