Cape Town - Despite the disappointment of losing in the last four of the ATP Finals, Kevin Anderson will feel satisfied with his 2018 season.
The South African’s season ended on a low note when he was beaten 6-2, 6-2 by world No 1 Novak Djokovic at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday night.
Anderson started his maiden ATP Finals campaign with straight-set wins over Austria’s Dominic Thiem and Japan’s Kei Nishikori, before a defeat to Swiss great Roger Federer halted his momentum.
Anderson was far from happy with his own serving display and admitted to not finding the same “sense of freedom and relaxation” against Federer and Djokovic that he had in his first two group matches.
“From my side it was pretty disappointing,” he said after losing to Djokovic.
“I didn’t really play a very good match. I felt unsettled right from the beginning. I knew I had to take care of my service games, because he’s serving really well. And he’s returning well, which definitely makes life difficult, but that’s why he’s one of the best players of all time.”
But for Anderson the positives of 2018 far outweigh the negatives.
It was the 6-foot-8-inch beanpole's best season to date and he ends the year No 6 on the ATP rankings - the highest-ever year-end finish for a South African man since the computer rankings began 45 years ago.
The last time a South African male player finished the year ranked in the top 10 was when Wayne Ferreira finished No 9 in the ATP rankings at the end of 1995.
Anderson won two titles (New York Open and Vienna Open) and reached the final at Wimbledon where he lost to Djokovic.
At Wimbledon, there was also the highlight of beating Federer 13-11 in the final set of an epic quarter-final, as well as the historic semi-final win over America’s John Isner.
Anderson beat Isner 26-24 in the final set after a six hour, 36 minute battle - the second longest match in Wimbledon history which prompted organisers to limit final sets to a maximum of 24 games before a tie-break kicks in at 12-all to settle matters from 2019 onwards.
A lot of great milestones & even greater memories this year. Thanks to my team, my wife @KelseyOAnderson, my friends/family, sponsors and of course the fans for your continued belief & support of me. Looking forward to recharging (with @LadyKadyTweets ??) for an even better 2019. pic.twitter.com/PdF3SdIoqa— Kevin Anderson (@KAndersonATP) November 18, 2018