Sunday, July 8, 2018

Kevin Anderson Wimbledon third round press conference

Kevin Anderson Wimbledon third round press conference
Kevin Anderson Wimbledon third round press conference

Kevin Anderson speaks to the media after his 6-3, 7-5, 7-5 win against Philipp Kohlschreiber
Q. You must be pretty pleased with that, very efficient?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I thought today was a terrific match for me. I knew I was going to be in for a tough one against Philipp. As I was saying yesterday, he's a very experienced player. I've played him a few times, always had close matches. It's always nice getting off to a good start, breaking him very early in the first set and then holding that nicely.

Again, good in the second set. Gave back that break in the second. That wasn't ideal, but, you know, that often happens, especially in three-out-of-five set matches, it swings both ways.

I was able to keep my head and respond very well to that and play a good game to break and an excellent game to hold out that second set.

Third set was very close, and had a few looks I felt as the set went on, and then obviously got very lucky with that break point at 5-All and did a good job serving out.

Yeah, all in all, it's always a great feeling getting through to the second week here at Wimbledon. I have done it a few times. One of my first goals was try and take it a step further and reach the quarters. In order to do that, you need to put yourself in the round of 16. So I have done that so far, so definitely looking forward to the opportunity on Monday.

Q. You play a very interesting player next, Gaël Monfils. You haven't played him on grass. You haven't succeeded against him on the other surfaces. How would you describe him as a player and the specific challenge for you here on grass?
KEVIN ANDERSON: I have played Gaël a few times. As you know, I haven't beaten him before. So looking forward to having that opportunity hopefully on Monday.

Haven't played him on the grass. It will be an interesting adjustment to see what happens. I feel like on other surfaces he does such a great job of retrieving, absorbing pace very well. He stands quite far back behind the baseline. I feel it's a little tougher to do on grass.

I haven't spoken to my coach yet to see how he played against Querrey today, who's also got a big game, big serve. If he was standing up or standing back. So I'll obviously have to get a sense of sort of what he's doing.

I think from my side it really doesn't change too much. I think the way I have been playing, the way I have been approaching my game, I think I really need to be focusing on that. If I do that, I'm going to give myself the best chance of winning. I don't think I need to make that big of a change playing him.

Q. There have been a lot of upsets recently. I'm curious what you think is the reason for the increased depth in both men's and women's tennis.
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I think that's an interesting question. You know, the first thing that comes to my mind is that obviously for a long time tennis has been really dominated by a select group of individuals, you know, for quite a few reasons. They haven't been as dominant as they have been in the past. I think that's opened the door for other players.

You have seen more players having that opportunity to experience playing matches deeper in Grand Slams and deep into Masters Series. I think that's really valuable.

I think when those same players are playing against some of the top guys they come into the match with a little bit more belief. I think, you know, even over last 10, 15 years, you have had a lot of high-quality players who maybe haven't been able to play their best tennis in the big arenas later stage of the tournaments. You're starting to see guys feel more comfortable doing that.

It's also the fact when you see someone else doing it, for some reason it makes it easier. I think that's been happening, too.

Q. As someone on the player council, have you seen the effect of increased prize money on lower-end players being able to have a coach with them or whatever?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Potentially. I mean, that's obviously kind of hard to quantify. But, I mean, it definitely makes sense. That's been a huge priority for us to make tennis as attractive to as many players as possible.

Tennis is an interesting sport where unless you have financial backing from federations or through other means, you have to work your way through and be ranked high enough to afford coaches, physios. Then it becomes very tough if you're ranked around 100 and you may be sharing a coach, you don't have your own physio, and you're playing against someone who has a full team behind them, that's also tough to battle through.

I think that definitely comes into it. I think definitely explaining the longevity and players playing longer I think the increase in prize money is definitely a big factor into that.

Q. I know you're based in the States, but do you see yourself as a flag or standard bearer for African tennis? Second part of the question is pretty much every other continent pretty well represented now. North America, South America, Europe, Asia. Africa obviously doesn't have many players at the top level. Could you answer both questions on the future for African tennis?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, the first part I definitely feel that way. I have been at the top of South African tennis for, you know, pretty much a decade now. I have always said my biggest hope is that players, especially junior players in South Africa, watch me on TV or wherever, I'm a sort of source of inspiration for them to pick up the game of tennis, to pursue it.

When I'm back in South Africa I try my best to get out to the schools, I give a lot of talks. I try and just encourage players to take up tennis.

There is no, what's the word, not hiding the fact that tennis in Africa has really struggled over the past few years. It's a very tough sport and I think the biggest obstacle is just that there is no, very, very little professional tennis in the whole continent. So in order to get exposure you have to travel to Europe, to the States.

On the back of that comes financing. And, you know, a lot of African countries just can't afford that. It's prohibitively expensive to do it. I know for myself coming from a wealthier country of South Africa it was still very tough. It's just so far. You know, it's a whole cycle.

I mean, I'd be surprised if in the next few years you'll see a whole crop of individuals coming up. You'll have to look at it in 10-, 20-year plan and hopefully in that period of time we'll start to see some more players coming through.

It's tough for me to talk about other countries, I can just talk about South Africa. I think there have been a few more players coming through. I think some of the structures are slowly changing, so I have -- I'm sort of cautiously optimistic that hopefully in the next sort of while we'll see more South Africans coming through.

Q. I'm working on a piece on the off-season and how important it is for top players. Can you tell me what exactly you do in an off-season, how long you put away your racquet for and do you go on a holiday or do you just sit at home? How does that work for you?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, it's actually been interesting because the last few years it's been quite different for me in that two of the times I was dealing with pretty big injuries, so that changes the whole outlook of what I'm trying to do.

But generally speaking, in an ideal world, it's also changing, the fact that I'm now older, it's tougher to spend as much time on the court. Some of the younger guys, you hear them really pushing their bodies hard, five, six hours a day doing gym, tennis. I'm still working very hard but I think it's different. I may be on the court only two hours a day and probably three hours a day I spend in the gym or on a treatment table, rehab protocols, sort of all of that.

But it's always nice getting one or two weeks off from tennis. I always find it's pretty dangerous not to do anything. Even in those first two weeks off, even if you can just get to the gym a few times, because if you don't, your body has a way of recovering very quickly and then when you start again your body is not ready for that load.

I think it's important to keep up that level of maintenance even if it's very light, and then it's a great opportunity to actually spend some time on the physical side because that's does take a little bit longer. It's the longest break we have all year and as you move into December you are starting to play more tennis, looking for more sets. Beginning of the year you're looking at trying to play some more tournaments.

You know, for example, this year it was a great setup for me playing in Abu Dhabi, excellent opportunity to get matches, and then, you know, I played one tournament in Pune, which was also fantastic when I got more matches heading into the Australian Open.

I think it's a good balance spending a lot of time on physicality, tennis and getting some matches in, as well.

Q. You said yourself that you're playing some of the best tennis of your career. How much are you enjoying it at the moment? When you're playing this way, would you like to play four days in a row or are you quite thankful for a weekend off?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, as I said earlier, 52 weeks since coming off a series of injuries. I definitely feel I have pushed through in the level of my game. And even though I'm 32, I still feel like my best tennis is ahead of me. I work very hard in order to get there, and I feel like I'm making strides in that area.

You know, in a match like today it's very rewarding for me to see those constant improvements taking place, and, you know, that's something that I hopefully will be able to continue doing for a long period of time to come.

What was the second part of the question?

Q. Just the way that you played at the moment would you rather have...
KEVIN ANDERSON: Oh, yeah, it's also interesting -- I really like the day on, sort of day off at Grand Slams. I think it's very unique having a couple days in a row on -- now three in a row because of the rain delay. I think having a few days off is going to be nice.

Q. Going back to the question about the seeds going out and stuff, the slams have agreed to go back to 16 seeds for next year?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Is that a for sure?

Q. Well, that's what they agreed in January. I don't know if they need to sign it off and agree with you first. Is it something you think is necessary?
KEVIN ANDERSON: I personally don't. Grand Slams are the ones that pushed for 32 seeds in the first place and now going back to 16, to be honest with you, on the council it's not something we have spoken in detail about. So obviously I'd like to know the reasons why.

I guess they want more interesting matchups in the beginning. I think there are a lot of pretty interesting matchups already. Even now you can see seeds aren't automatically going through, either. It will be definitely more of an open playing field, definitely interesting, some tough opening-round matches, to say the least, in terms of -- not that any match isn't tough, but guys who have had good histories and ranked pretty high, somebody in the top 10 playing someone ranked 17, 18, is pretty tricky.

I also think because there are so many points offered at the slams that does make it more difficult.

Q. Is it something you'll look to clarify?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, definitely. It's been spoken about a few times. We are sort of in talks with the Grand Slams regarding other things. Obviously shot clock now at the US Open is one. I think there are some things we need to sort of clarify.

Q. I just want to ask you about one of the Wimbledon traditions, the all-white outfits. What do you make of it? When you're done, your all-white apparel, what goes through your mind about the difference here versus anyplace else?
KEVIN ANDERSON: I really enjoy it. I think it's very nice. It's very traditional, very unique to Wimbledon. I think a lot of players enjoy it. I wouldn't mind bringing some sort of dress code to some other tournaments, too.

Yeah, I personally like it. You know, you sort of associate it with this time of the year, especially Wimbledon, so I think that's cool.

Q. Why would you like to bring it to other places?
KEVIN ANDERSON: I'm maybe a bit more of a traditionalist in some senses like that. That's probably the reason why.

Q. I've seen you on YouTube playing guitar. Do you have the guitar with you?
KEVIN ANDERSON: I do. And I'm going to go see Jack Johnson tonight, so maybe play a few of his songs today. That will be pretty fun to see. Yeah, I have it with me and I have a couple days off so maybe I'll get in a bit more guitar time.

Photo and press conference from Wimbledon Website