How Roger Federer inspired Kevin Anderson’s comeback
Former Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson will make a comeback to the ATP Tour 14 months after he had called it quits and he has revealed that Roger Federer helped inspire his return.
He says that a chance meeting with Federer in Delray Beach set the wheels in motion for his return.
Anderson came to realise that he would do things differently if he got to have his career over and when he felt he was able to return he put himself back out there.
He admitted having an inferiority complex of sorts because of being from South Africa and he even felt uneasy at first when talking to Federer as they ran into one another.
“I was hitting, just me and [my friend] just up and down the middle. And I was like, ‘Man, I’m feeling great,’” Anderson told ATPTour.com.
“And at the end of practice, Roger Federer was actually in town, visiting. He came out to the courts and it was really a pretty profound experience. For me, I feel like looking back at my career, I was always pretty intimidated by some of the top guys.
“I think coming from South Africa and not really being exposed to some of the best players in the world, I always was a little bit intimidated. And it was really interesting, because, in the first few minutes of our conversation, I felt that same sort of uneasiness, I felt very shifty.
“I kind of made a concerted effort to change that and things like that. You don’t really know what’s going to come your way, and that has really been a big learning experience for me,” Anderson said.
“Had I been able to do [my career] over, I probably would have not spent maybe as many hours on myself in the practice court, but interacting or putting myself in situations. I ended up having a great conversation with Roger and for the first time, I felt just really at ease and [was] having a normal conversation.
“It was fascinating listening to him, arguably the best player of all time in terms of his ball striking, and just hearing the insights he had. It was a really cool experience. I didn’t really put that together [in terms of coming back]. I think before that I was kind of thinking of, ‘Maybe I should come back.’”
He says that he is striking the ball well and most importantly after several surgeries he is now moving well.
“Up and down the middle, almost immediately, I felt like I hadn’t missed a beat,” Anderson said. “That’s the thing, I’ve played tennis my whole life, and I was moving well, and for me, the biggest thing in that environment is [there is] very little stress. I’m relaxed, I’m loose, I’m really using all of my capabilities.
“I think that sometimes overlooked in professional sports and just using tennis, [it is about] how much can you extract? And the reality is… let’s take the top of the world, especially Novak, Rafa and Roger, and people always say they raise their levels. I actually disagree with that.
“I feel that they’re able to use the abilities that they have in crazy moments, and the biggest moments in the finals of Grand Slams, and they’re just so present. I think that’s what’s really separated them.”
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