ATP Tour

R8.4m season for 'loser' Anderson

Kevin Anderson (AP)
Kevin Anderson (AP)

Cape Town - A first-round defeat against Jiri Vesely in the China Open this week means Kevin Anderson has tasted failure in the opening encounter of 11 of his 18 tournaments in 2016.

It has been a dismal, deflating period result-wise for South Africa's top tennis player after starting the year ranked 12th in the world and now finding himself in 41st place - and 70th taking into account results over the last nine months alone.

Yet with tennis prize money mushrooming to what it is in this inflated age, Anderson has still managed to accumulate a tidy R8.4m in prize money from his largely unsuccessful 18 tournaments.

It is not, however, in keeping with the R25.2m prize money that he earned last year or the career tournament earnings that have now passed an escalating, awesome R100m mark.

And the question that comes up for answering is whether the 30-year-old Anderson has now reached his zenith as a top force in international tennis.

A succession of injuries early in the year, no doubt, contributed to Anderson's decline, but he has long insisted he is back in tip-top physical condition and highly motivated.

But even more importantly, perhaps, it is the psychological effect and apparent loss of confidence from his poor recent results that seems to be dogging the 6ft 8in big server in more than a few games he has lost that should have been won.

Also, Anderson has become deeply involved in an enterprising coaching programme on the internet and it is a moot point whether this fits in ideally with his own efforts on the court in the effort to eliminate the wavering form that has been blighting his progress.

Strokewise and fitness-wise Anderson's prowess suggests a comeback of the kind that has catapulted Argentinian Juan-Martin del Potro back into prominence after a succession of debilitating injuries is within his means.

It's the mind games bogey he will need to master - and overcome in order to elevate himself to somewhere in the vicinity of the 12th position in the world he occupied less than nine months ago.  

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