ATP Tour

Playing for peanuts not appetising for Anderson

Kevin Anderson (Getty Images)
Kevin Anderson (Getty Images)
Cape Town - It was not surprising that a leading TSA official sounded distinctly pessimistic over the possibility of South African No 1 tennis player Kevin Anderson ending his self-imposed exile from Davis Cup competition of more than six years in next month's critical Euro-Africa Group One tie against Israel at the Irene Country Club on the outskirts of Pretoria.

"After Anderson has raked in more than R27 million in prize money from tournaments in the last few months playing for what amounts relatively to peanuts in the Davis Cup might not appear particularly appetising," was the officials' gloomy reasoning, "especially as the Australian Open, with millions more in prize money at stake, will be staged immediately before the Davis Cup tie."

A reasonable viewpoint if one takes into account the world's No 14's approach to the Davis Cup over a lengthy period, this despite favourable, but vague comments from Anderson in recent months that he is not averse to playing in the Davis Cup again.

What is more, Anderson's impressive form early in the New Year and a spate of injuries to an unusually large number of the world's top players presents the big-serving South African with an inviting opportunity of securing a prized world top 10 ranking.

Currently in India for his first  official ATP tournament in 2018 and having reached the semi-finals, the 31-year-old Anderson achieved the best result of his career by reaching the final of the United States grand slam tournament in September before going down to Rafael Nadal, but earning approximately R23 million in the process.

And the money continued to roll in for Anderson while winning the six-man exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi last week with a pay cheque of  approximately R4 million.

So the paradoxical assessment could  be espoused that the more success Anderson has achieved recently the less likely is the prospect of him making himself available to play against Israel.

The bitter irony of this for embattled South African tennis is that with Anderson in harness the home team would be strong favourites to beat Israel and as a minimum result ensure the Euro-Africa Group One place remains  secure following  promotion from Group Two last year, but without the big-serving kingpin would effectively only have a 50-50 chance against a tricky Israeli combination.

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