Kevin Anderson. A familiar face, performing at an unfamiliar level of standard. If you think that his reaching of the US Open final last year was a fluke, his reaching of this year's Wimbledon final, and his beating of Federer en route to it, should dispel such a notion completely. The question arises then, if Anderson, at an age beyond ripe, will be able to sustain such performance, to be able to be deemed a late-comer champion in the sense that Wawrinka is.
Late-bloomer from the start
It was at the age of 22 that Kevin Anderson first broke into a grand slam main draw. Yes, at the age of 22! However, this should not be too surprising when considering how breaking into a grand slam before the age of 20 is not as mainstream as most of us think - we tend only to focus on the best of the best. Before that age, Anderson was playing Challenger tournaments, getting his grand-slam entry break from getting through to the quarter-finals of a Challenger event in New Caledonia in 2008 (the year in which he played his first grand slam).
Climbing the ranks slowly
The next significant breakthrough for Kevin Anderson came in the year 2010, at the age of 24. This was the year when he won his first grand slam match - his first! That took place late in the year against Somdev Devvarman. He went on to win Bellucci in the second round, to lose eventually in the third. This is no mean breakthrough for Anderson considering his position then. However, if you only won your first match at the age of 24, you know reaching the furthest rounds of the grand slam would realistically speaking, be effectively impossible to reach...
First ATP title
At an age when many players would have won at least a handful of ATP titles by, Anderson won his first, in the year of 2011 and the age of 25. This came at the SA open in his hometown, when he beat the very same person who lost to him in his first ever grand slam match win - the above-mentioned Somdev.
2013: First fourth round appearance
The slow climb continues for Anderson, as he had to wait another 2 years before the next major breakthrough in his career came. This time it came in the form of a first grand-slam fourth round, at the Australian Open of that year. He beat Verdasco in the third and lost to Berdych in the fourth. This was no fluke though, for his upset of David Ferrer in the Indian Wells tournament of that year, and his reaching of the French Open fourth round shortly afterwards, confirmed a Anderson that has transformed in tennis standards.
2014-2015: Everything rolled on from there
It is true indeed, that the hardest part of anything is always at the start, and that to succeed you need to stay in the game and grind, for the more you get at it the easier it gets. This definitely applied to Anderson's career trajectory thus far. With his entries into the fourth round of grand slam tournaments in 2013, a momentum could be seen to be building from then. In 2014, he reached the fourth round of three of the grand slams, and was a quarter-finalist for ATP 1000 tournaments. If 2014 was spectacular for Anderson, 2015 would have felt like a bomb. He proved himself not only capable of attaining consistent last-16 performance, but also of an ability to overturn the very best of the best. At the Wimbledon of that year, he led eventual champion Djokovic by two sets to none, and beat Andy Murray in the US Open to reach the quarter-finals. Whats more, he entered the Top 10 ATP rankings for the first time.
Enough has been said about Kevin Anderson' story. What is the moral of this then: NEVER GIVE UP, NO MATTER HOW LATE YOU THINK YOU ARE IN THE GAME
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