Cape Town - Meant as the springboard after a successful 2015
to challenging for an established world top 10 ranking, the New Year has not
exactly been kind to top South African tennis player Kevin Anderson, with the
ranking of the gangling, 6ft 8in big-server due to slip from 12th to 14th on
the completion of the Australian Open.
A first-round exit at
Melbourne Park in the first Grand Slam tournament of 2016 when he
retired with a troublesome knee injury after trailing 82nd-ranked American
Rajeev Ram 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 3-0 cost Anderson 170 ranking points and
moved him two places down the ranking ladder.
But the niggling injury apart, Anderson has not achieved a
single noteworthy match win in 2016 - let alone a tournament success - during
the year's opening month while losing, in the process, games against Milos
Raonic, Feliciano Lopez, Jack Sock and now Ram.
Anderson also withdrew from India's Chennai Open when his
knee injury flared up shortly before the tournament and in an effort to achieve
full fitness, he has elected to miss next month's Memphis Open in which he
reached the final last year - thereby set to drop further ranking points and
In the process, the slim chance of Anderson ending his
self-imposed five-year absence from representing South Africa in the Davis Cup
in the Euro-Africa Group Two tie against
Luxembourg in early-March has seemingly vanished altogether.
In a column he writes for SuperSport.com, Anderson says he
is making every effort to regain his form and fitness, but in consultation with
his back-up staff and medical opinion, the decision has been made to have a
three-week break from tournament play.
But the longer Anderson's inactivity from tournaments, the
tougher it will be to make up lost ground and place himself again in a position
to challenge for a top 10 ranking.