South African Kevin Anderson says his modus operandi in life is to pick himself up and try and rebound from “tougher moments”, just like the 2018 Wimbledon finalist experienced on Friday, bowing out in the third round to Argentina’s Guido Pella.
The 33-year-old, who lost to Novak Djokovic in last year’s final after a marathon semi-final with John Isner, says his attitude would serve those in the ‘NextGen’ as an example.
Anderson, whose season has been affected by an elbow injury, was never allowed to impose himself on the match with Pella playing some sublime tennis to win 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).
“There’s been a lot of disappointments, ups and downs, a lot of positives, too,” said Anderson.
“I think I’ve always done a really good job of getting stronger from the tougher moments. I think that’s a strength of mine.
“I’ve had that since a little kid. I work really hard. I keep pushing myself.”
Anderson said despite the lows down the years he had never thought of walking away.
“I mean, that desire is always there for me. In my whole life, I’ve never felt a day where I’ve wanted to stop playing or anything,” he said.
Anderson said it was hard for the younger generation when the ‘big three’ of Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are so dominant.
That trio, plus Andy Murray on two occasions, have won the Wimbledon title every year since Lleyton Hewitt triumphed in 2002.
“They know what it’s like playing on centre courts week in, week out at the Grand Slams,” said Anderson.
“They know what it’s like being in the semis, in the finals.
“That sort of experience just keeps on compounding because nobody else is really having nearly as many opportunities because of those guys.”
Anderson, who was beaten by Nadal in the 2017 US Open final, said it is hard to gain that big match winning experience.
“Nobody can simulate what it feels like going out and playing the finals of a Grand Slam, semis and finals,” he said.
“There’s only been a few players actually to experience that over the last while, significantly less than any of those guys.”
– ‘My mind is in the right place’ –
Pella, who will play in the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career, was in control from the outset and a fine performance was summed up in an astonishing point at 5-4 in the tie-break.
AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS Guido Pella revels in unbelievable victory over 2018 Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson
The duo exchanged several volleys at the net before the 26th seed put it away, sinking to his knees and letting out a roar of delight.
“The penultimate point it was unbelievable,” enthused Pella.
“One of those days that the point belonged to me.
“I was so tight serving for the match at 5-4 (in the tie-break) and that released me.”
The 29-year-old served out the match to send the fourth seeded South African packing and will play 2016 finalist Milos Raonic for a place in the quarter-finals.
“I don’t know how to describe this,” gasped Pella, who had never gone beyond the third round of a Grand Slam tournament in seven years.
“I played an unbelievable three sets.
“In the third he played much better but in the end I was focussed.”
As for his incredible improvement this year which has seen him rise into the top 30 with his highest ever ranking Pella said it was all in the head.
“My mind is in the right place,” he said. “I am playing much more aggressive than previous years.
“You gain confidence when you win matches, you play every point like it was the last and fight for every point.
“Being in the second week is unbelievable.”
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