ATP Tour

Anderson battles injury as Wimbledon looms

Kevin Anderson (AP)
Kevin Anderson (AP)

Cape Town - There is a special reason - as if one was needed - for top South African tennis player Kevin Anderson to overcome his battle against a niggling hamstring injury before the forthcoming Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament.

In last year's blue riband event on the famed London grass-courts, Anderson suffered the frustrating ignominy of losing his first round game against Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin, not noted for his expertise on this particular surface, after winning the opening two sets and seemingly cruising to a comfortable victory.

But right now there is no certainty that Anderson will even be fit enough to take his place in the Wimbledon draw after still not making a tournament  appearance since he retired from his fourth round game in the French Open after trailing Croatia’s Marin Cilic 6-3, 3-0.

Anderson was a non-starter in the current Aegon Championships at the Queens Club, which has traditionally been one of his favourite events and he is only listed as an alternative for next week's Eastbourne tournament - the final warm-up before Wimbledon.

A source close to the Anderson camp suggested the current lack of action was aimed at the 6ft 8in big server nursing his injury in order to be fully fit for Wimbledon - but the lack of extended match competition cannot be ideal preparation for the switch to unfamiliar grass surfaces in particular.

And this is emphasised by the strong entry for the ATP 250 tournament at Eastbourne, headed by Novak Djokovic, Gael Monfils. Richard Gasquet and John Isner, who are all seeking further grass-court action before the big one at Wimbledon.

Furthermore, Anderson's condition takes on greater significance in that he is earmarked to be the only South African due to compete in the men's or women's singles at Wimbledon - a sombre situation as it stands and quite disconcerting should the number of South Africans in these events be reduced  to nil.

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