South African Kevin Anderson is one of several ATP players who is looking forward to the resumption of the ATP Tour, following its suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The former World No.5 is a two-time Grand Slam finalist (2017 US Open, 2018 Wimbledon), but is yet to claim his maiden Major title or a Masters 1000 trophy. However, the lanky South African seems determined to surpass those limits once the season resumes.

“In 2021, If I’m a Grand Slam champion with some ATP Masters 1000 titles, that would be a very successful year-and-a-half,” Anderson told ATP Tennis Radio. “That’s what I’m aiming for along with my team. I’m really looking forward to pushing myself and giving myself that opportunity.”

The 34-year old has been hindered by injury over the past 18 months, and just recently recovered from a second right knee surgery this February. However, he has used the extra time off to strengthen his mind and body.

“At this point in my career, it’s the most important thing for me. Everything revolves around that,” Anderson said.  “We probably err on the side of caution right now, whereas with tournaments, you might push through a little bit. I extended my recovery period by four or five weeks before getting back on court. I’ve been training and have a friend who has a court at his house, which has been a nice setup.

“It’s been quite some time since I was in that regular routine of competing and playing in tournaments. I’m trying to take care of my body as much as I can. Hopefully I can take this six months that I haven’t been playing and add that to the end of my career.”

Fatherhood and adopting a new mindset

Anderson recently welcomed a new addition to his family, as his wife Kelsey gave birth to their first child last September. He has been using this time off to experience life as a father, a luxury that some ATP players cannot afford due to the demanding Tour schedule. Furthermore, he is also the Vice President on the ATP Players Council and has remained an active presence.

The South African was encouraged by Jay Bosworth, one of his coaches, to adopt a more relaxed approach mentally. Changing his mindset after such a long time wasn’t easy, but Anderson believes it will pay off in the long run.

“Some of my biggest strengths that helped me get to where I was in 2018 needed to change a little bit. I’ve always had a good work ethic and always wanted to keep improving… But I also needed to trust my abilities and the work I had put in,” Anderson said. “That was a very difficult change for me at first. Stepping out of your comfort zone and seeing what needs to be done can be challenging, but it’s something I’ve embraced and I can see how it helps you become a tennis player.”

 

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Author: Arthur Ajayi