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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Nadal-conqueror Kevin Anderson ready and waiting for Pune’s Kadhe

Anderson will play his opening match on January 2 at the Tata Open Maharashtra in Balewadi

pune Updated: Jan 01, 2019 14:57 IST
Pranav Shahaney
Pranav Shahaney
Hindustan Times, Pune
Kevin Anderson in Pune.
Kevin Anderson in Pune. (HT/PHOTO)

Kevin Anderson is as big as they come in the world of men’s tennis; especially so in the world of tennis in Pune. The Tata Open Maharashtra has landed the current world number 6 in Balewadi and the South African, aged 32, will play his opening match on January 2

If Pune’s rising tennis talent and wild card for the event, Arjun Kadhe, gets past the first round, he will play Anderson in round two. Oh, and Anderson stands six feet eight inches tall .

“I am looking forward to the challenge. I do not really know much about Kadhe, but the level of tennis here is good. I made the finals here last year so would like to go one step further this time around. Having a bye gives me a couple of days extra to prepare for the tournament. I really have to focus on what I can do on my side of the court,” said Anderson.

Anderson is a firm believer in the cliché ‘age is just a number’, as he is regarded by fans and fellow professionals as one of the fittest players on tour.

“Even before I was 30 I was at a steady rate of improvement. I had reached the top 10 in 2015 and I was 29 then. Also up until that point, I was a pretty injury-free person. Since 2016 I have missed quite a few tournaments, but from the time I’ve come back, I have continued pushing myself by looking at different ways of improving to do better on the court and from the mental side as well. It was also a belief system. It took myself some time to believe that I’m good enough to beat anybody at any stage,” says the 32-year-old.

On the back of a miraculous comeback victory against Rafael Nadal a few days ago in Abu Dhabi, Anderson goes into the tournament as positive as can be.

When quizzed about how much a win over the former world number one meant to him, he said: “In Abu Dhabi, it’s an exhibition style event so it’s different. It’s still a very competitive test of where you are. Playing two tournaments before going to Australia next week is the ideal preparation and my last two games were against Djokovic and Nadal so I feel I’m well suited.”

Tech-savvy for the right call

The advancement in technology has certainly improved the quality of tennis and has ensured the players and the fans that there are no discrepancies in the decision making.

Kevin Anderson is a firm believer in the numerous advances made in the sport and feels he can breathe easy while playing the big games.

FoxTenn, a technology officially approved by the International tennis federation (ITF) in 2016, will be used for ATP’s inaugural tournament in the country. This will serve as an upgrade on the previously used Hawkeye system.

Speaking about how much of an impact technological progress has had on the sport since he began playing professionally, Anderson says, “The direction we’re going in will provide more and more information for the fans and the players. Players will soon have access to see their stats and I think those are positive changes. As a player, it gives you the comfort of mind that the calls are going to be accurate in the crucial stages of the match. It will be interesting to see how these changes progress on a tour level.”

First Published: Jan 01, 2019 14:57 IST