ATP Tour

Can Anderson overcome nightmare start to year?

2016-03-23 14:28
Kevin Anderson (AP)

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 still surgery.

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 surface.

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 different circumstances.

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.

Read more on:    atp tour  |  kevin anderson  |  tennis

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