A thank you to Kevin Anderson

Last week I saw the news that Kevin Anderson was retiring from tennis, over the years he has been a player I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching and watching his career progress.

Kevin has always been a player looking to take his game to the next level which included two major finals. At 6’8” he was one of the tallest on the tour and that came with a big serve. There’s a stereotype in mens tennis that tall players get labelled as a “serve bot” which is in my opinion a poor take.

I think that’s a lazy observation, if we could all serve that well we’d take it. I’m 6’4″ and I serve atrociously, if it lands on the next court it’s a miracle let alone my own. There is more to his game than his serve and I was pleased to see him break that mould, compete with the best and get to the top of mens tennis becoming No.5 in 2018.

I’ve enjoyed watching Kevin as you could see that progression, over the years he became more effective at the net and it sounds simple but keeping points simple on serve has (no pun intended) served him well.

It’s a weird one because one of my favourite performances was his win against Murray at the US Open in 2015, it was a tough one because I am a ‘hardcore’ Murray fan but I loved the performance. He kept the points short, opened up the court with his forehand and his backhand cross-court and onto the feet of Murray grew into the match. To have a solid play an execute it against Murray was impressive, the timing of his moves coming to the net were superbly efficient.

Even though that loss hurt from a fans perspective I enjoyed the performance, we have favourites in this sport but we watch it because we love tennis and the variety of players’ games.

Kevin caused some big upsets on the court, one of the most poignant was his defeat from two sets down to defeat Roger Federer at Wimbledon. I’ve always said that tennis moves on quickly, if you’re out of form or out of the game to maintain a level and improve is tough. One day you win a tournament, the next you could be out in round one.

He was a consistent threat, I’d have him in a category of players I’d like to avoid in a tournament and that for me is a show of respect.

Not just his work on the court but off the court, he has supported in 2019 I loved the interview he gave to The Guardian speaking about LGBTQ and why there isn’t an openly gay male tennis player. It isn’t sometimes too often you resonate with what someone says but Kevin’s interview spoke loudly to me.

It is those little comments that don’t help, if someone says “that’s soo gay” it’s not a nice phrase and it’s something I grew up with and still there are stereotypes in life and sport but speaking out and using your platform goes a long way, I thank Kevin for that. I’d recommend having a read…

I will certainly miss watching Kevin on the tour, he challenged, competed and as he says in his words “I gave it my best.”

Best of luck for what is next!

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