The current generation of younger players is a good bunch but they can’t reproduce the consistency achieved by the ‘Big Four’ in this “extraordinary” era, says South African tennis star Kevin Anderson.
The 31-year-old said there was no doubt in the quality of current players but achievements of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray can’t be emulated.
“The same level of consistency, I don’t see that happening with current group of players. There is a bunch of very good players but to recreate the kind of consistency the Big 4 had in such a long period of time (is difficult). It’s a pretty special era, they are still playing, so that era is still going on. It’s exciting,” Anderson, who lost the US Open final to Nadal, told PTI in an interview on the sidelines of Tata Open Maharashtra.
“Just because, what they are trying to reproduce is something very extraordinary. It has not happened in tennis before. I had very close matches with them. Following in the footsteps of Federer, Nadal or Djokovic is very difficult. Andy as well,” he said.
Much to the delight of their millions of fans, Federer and Nadal won all Grand Slams in 2017 even as doubts surfaced if they will dominate the tennis court again, considering the injuries they fought.
Despite battling a tough season, Anderson managed to move from 67 to 14 in rankings by the end of season, thanks to his maiden appearance at a Grand Slam.
In hindsight, Anderson says he could have won that match to become first Grand Slam champion from his country.
“Against Nadal, obviously he is more experienced. He has played Grand Slam finals 20 times. I was definitely playing good enough tennis to win that match. In hindsight, I needed to have more belief in myself. It comes to belief on those final moments and I am working on that. I am confident with the way I play. As the rounds progress in a tournament, you need to trust yourself more. This is something I have not done much in the past, that’s a big goal for me. When I do that, I know, I can beat anybody,” he said.
It’s not only the US Open final, he also ended runner-up in Washington at the ATP 500 event losing the final to Alexander Zverev, considered a future star. And not only that, he also lost to Zverev at Citi Open in Rome.
“Against Zverev in Washington, he was playing very good tennis, I needed to try more. He was bit more free than me and I was more careful in the sense you can’t afford doing that,” Anderson said, explaining his defeat.
Reflecting on his previous season, Anderson said, “2017 was a bit on tough side. I was dealing with injuries from the 2016 season. I had to miss the beginning of the year and had to miss coming out to Australia and a couple of more tournaments before.
“After recovery, even though I was healthy but it took time to get form. Things I was doing (in practice) I was not able to incorporate during match time. Once that happened I had to keep building on that and had a good summer. US Open was great result for me. It was a little bit disappointing towards the end,” he said.
After the high of US Open, he managed to win only three matches from five events he played.
“Towards the end, a combination of few things. I was creating a lot of opportunities and chances but I was not taking them, compared to US Open where I was taking those chances,” said Anderson.
“First few weeks, I was winning more points and the match. I was dominating the matches but unfortunately was not winning the most important moments of the match. And often it comes to one or two points.”