Cape Town – It could be termed a tennis version of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” as Kevin Anderson’s woes have continued unabated in 2019 with the last-minute withdrawals from his three last tournaments.
A new injury to his right knee caused South Africa’s top tennis player to pull out of Washington’s Citi Open and the two succeeding ATP Masters 1000 events in Montreal and now Cincinnati without as much as hitting a ball
The outcome of his continued setbacks in fitness and form is that Anderson’s sixth world ranking at the start of the year has now deteriorated to 14th this week, with the likelihood that it is likely to get worse in the next couple of weeks.
But more startling and serious is that his succeeding loss of ranking points has plummeted him to 69th position in the year’s qualifying ratings to decide the eight participants for the year-end ATP World Finals in which Anderson not only participated in 2018, but reached the semi-finals – and which he now has little chance of making the elite field.
All this after Anderson won the relatively minor Pune Open in India at the start of the year and seemed poised to continue where he had left off after memorably reaching the United States Open Final (2017) and Wimbledon (2018) and starting 2019 with a career-best sixth ranking.
Instead a debilitating, lingering shoulder problem. which has particularly affected the 6ft 8in Anderson’s potent serve, heralded a decline in which the South African failed to come up to expectations in the Australian Open and Wimbledon grand slams and missed the French Open after he withdrew from the ATP’s clay court program in its entirety.
What this has meant is that Anderson has failed to beat any player ranked higher than 30th in his five tournaments in 2019 and at 33 cast a shadow over his future, with the coming United States Open at the end of the month. if indeed he participates, providing evidence as to whether he can rekindle his distinguished career.
Also disconcerting is that Anderson’s plunge in the rankings, if it continues, could affect South Africa’s qualification for the ATP’s inaugural World Cup team tournament in Australia in January, with participating nations dependent largely by the ranking of their best player.
And it will certainly be a major surprise if Anderson makes himself available for the Euro-Africa Group Two Davis Cup tie against what could be a mediocre Bulgarian team in Cape Town on September 13 and 14 after declining to play in this event since 2011.
Bulgaria appear to have only one world class male player in Grigor Dimitrov, who like Anderson has declined to play in the tradition-steeped Davis Cup since 2015 and could continue his embargo of the event. In any case, his form has deteriorated alarmingly from an imposing number three in the world in 2017 to a present shaky 74th right now.
South Africa, meanwhile, will be hoping to have Lloyd Harris available for the singles in the Davis Cup, despite the 22 year-old prospect slipping back to 100th in the world rankings after failing in the initial qualifying round for entry into the first round proper of both the Montreal and Cincinnati 1 000 tournaments – and also as a telling weapon in the Davis Cup doubles, the in-form world top tenner, Raven Klaasen.
ATP rankings as of August 12
1. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 12,325 pts
2. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 7,945
3. Roger Federer (SUI) 7,460
4. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 4,925
5. Kei Nishikori (JPN) 4,040 (+1)
6. Alexander Zverev (GER) 4,005 (+1)
7. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 3,455 (-2)
8. Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 3,230 (+1)
9. Karen Khachanov (RUS) 2,890 (-1)
10. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 2,555 (+1)
11. Roberto Bautista (ESP) 2,395 (+2)
12. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) 2,230
13. Borna Coric (CRO) 2,195 (+1)
14. Kevin Anderson (RSA) 2,140 (-4)
15. Gal Monfils (FRA) 2,130 (+5)
16. John Isner (USA) 2,040 (-1)
17. Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 2,020
18. Marin Cilic (CRO) 1,940 (-2)
19. David Goffin (BEL) 1,815 (-1)
20. Milos Raonic (CAN) 1,810 (-1)
23. Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 1,670 (-1)
27. Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 1,475