ATP Tour

What to expect from Kevin Anderson at ATP Finals

2018-11-06 14:31
Kevin Anderson (Getty Images)
Kevin Anderson (Getty Images)

Cape Town - It's a case intriguingly of what he can achieve, what he can't achieve and what he will achieve when top South African tennis player Kevin Anderson competes in his first ATP Finals next week.

Observing in the first instance the sentiment of the old hit parade song to "emphasise the positive", the 6-foot-8, big-serving Anderson will be the first South African to finish the year with a place among the ATP's top 10 year-end world players since Wayne Ferreira achieved the feat in 1996 - even if he fails to win a single match at London's sumptuous 02 Arena.

What is more, should Anderson perform reasonably well in the eight-man tournament that gets underway with two round robin segments of four, progresses to the semi-final stage and climaxes with a final in the prestige event that boasts approximately R120 million in prize money, he will finish the year ranked eighth or better in the world and set a new year-end record for a South African since the ATP installed its official rankings early in the 1970s.

Anderson could also take this achievement a heady step or two further by improving on his current world ranking of sixth and his recently-achieved temporary world ranking of fifth should he actually win the ATP Finals against the odds and move into a fourth-ranking position - thus far only achieved by South Africans in pre-ATP official rankings by Eric Sturgess (1949) and Cliff Drysdale (1967).

What Anderson cannot ascribe to, however, is progressing further than fourth in the world, with the points tally of current number one Novak Djokovic, withdrawn, but still current number two Rafael Nadal and number three Roger Federer beyond the South African's reach - come what might.

Djokovic, incidentally, is assured of his fifth number one record even before the ATP Finals begin as a result of Nadal's late withdrawal through injury.

Meanwhile, reaching the final in London would rank alongside Anderson's US Open and Wimbledon final defeats against Nadal and Djokovic respectively as the most auspicious achievements of his career.

So what exactly are Anderson's prospects of ending the most successful year of his career on a high note? He is drawn alongside Federer, Austria’s Dominic Thiem and Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the round robin segment and there will be no easy matches, that is for sure, with the South African having lost to Thiem and Nishikori recently - and the iconic Federer always a tricky adversary, to say the least.

The other round robin group, from which two players progress to the semi-finals, consists of Djokovic, Germany’s Alexander Zverev, Croatia’s Marin Cilic and America’s John Isner, who replaces Nadal, the second qualifier to withdraw from the tournament through injury following that of Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro.

With the evergreen Raven Klaasen having qualified for the doubles event in London with New Zealander Michael Venus, South Africa will be represented in both singles and doubles for the first time - and Klaasen who will be playing in the blue riband event for the third successive year, having progressed to the final with American Rajeev Ram in 2016 to earn a career-best world doubles ranking of sixth, seeking to progress one step further this time around.

Read more on:    atp tour  |  atp finals  |  kevin anderson  |  tennis


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When all is said and done, who of the 'Big 3' in men's tennis ends their career with the most Grand Slams?

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