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Kevin and Kelsey Anderson chat to Sky Sports' Marcus Buckland ahead of the ATP Finals
Kelsey Anderson: "You have to be a pretty good loser to play tennis because just about every week, even if you're world class, you're going to walk away losing to somebody"
Last Updated: 07/12/18 12:50pm
It has been quite a year for Kevin Anderson having reached his maiden Grand Slam final. He is now gearing up for the season-ending ATP Finals at London's O2 where his wife Kelsey and dog Lady Kady will be right by his side every shot of the way...
The Andersons met while at the University of Illinois where Kelsey, an American who is now a qualified accountant, was on the golf team.
After marrying in 2011, Kelsey took over admin duties where she organises everything from her partner's flights, to booking accommodation for him and his coaching staff.
Anderson cracked the top 10 in October 2015, soon after making his first US Open quarter-final, but then suffered a dip as injuries affected his confidence and form.
Now, the 32-year-old is playing the tennis of his life having enjoyed his best-ever season with titles in New York and Vienna as well as reaching a memorable maiden Grand Slam final at Wimbledon this summer. The Andersons, accompanied by their adorable Chiweenie (part chihuahua and part dachshund) Lady Kady, will be looking regal at London's O2 next week.
"This was a big goal of mine, making the O2 here, so I'm very happy with that. It has also been a great year for me highlighted by making the final at Wimbledon," said Kevin. "The ATP Finals is a very big tournament so I've definitely had a lot more recognition, not just here, but most places that I go."
Anderson beat eight-time champion Roger Federer 13-11 in the fifth set before outslugging John Isner in a record match lasting over six hours, 26-24 in the decider, which was also the longest single-day match ever at the grass-court tournament to reach the Wimbledon final. He ran out of steam against a ruthless Novak Djokovic on the Sunday.
"I spent a lot of time on court during the championships, but it was definitely very memorable for me," said Anderson, who also reflected on the recent rule change at the All England Club to introduce final set tie-breaks at 12-12. "I think it's good. It's a balance between keeping a unique aspect and historical stand-point of playing long sets, but also protecting players a little bit, and also the schedule, and other players."
Did you know...
Anderson is the first South African to qualify for the singles field at the season finale for 23 years - since Wayne Ferreira in 1995.
Kelsey admitted suffering an "out-of-body" experience during that semi-final epic against Isner, and revealed she was proud of her endurance during the six hours and 36 minutes for only having to leave her seat the once.
"It was really emotional during the match and really emotional after the match," she said. "Obviously, given the unique nature of Wimbledon that has the combined boxes with John's team, who we know quite well, it was a really emotional experience and no doubt it was emotional for them too. It was tough; I was obviously very happy but it was also very difficult for them at the time."
Anderson has suffered a remarkable 11 Masters 1000 quarter-final exits during his career to date, with the most heartbreaking loss coming in Toronto four years ago against Grigor Dimitrov. The South African failed to take two match points before suffering another agonising defeat. It was a memory he will never forget, but takes the positives out of the loss he suffered that day.
"It was really tough, really disappointing, but at the same time as Kelsey always says, I gave it my best shot and I competed the hardest that I could. It just wasn't meant to be. It doesn't make it any easier, but at least I know that there is not much more I could have done in that moment," said the world No 6. "That mindset helps me get through those tougher moments on the tour.
"I played Grigor earlier this year, same court in Toronto, quarter-finals of the Masters series, and although I had that match at the back of my mind, I was able to play a very good match and get through this time."
Following her husband on Tour, Kelsey has helped her 6ft 8in husband steadily climbed up the rankings to become more famous than Wayne Ferreira and Kevin Curren in his homeland of South Africa and she could not be more satisfied with his hunger for success.
She said: "What I've enjoyed the most is the fact that Kevin works incredibly hard, I think he is known for that on tour and just to be able to see him continue to improve and continue to reap the benefits of all the hard work he has put in has been really rewarding for me. I think he's incredibly deserving and it's been a fun journey to be a part of and watch from the sidelines.
"I've always said, you have to be a good loser to play tennis because just about every week, even if you're a world-class player, you're going to walk away losing to somebody so only one guy in the draw is the winner every week. You have to be able to get over it quickly and rebound because there's another tournament in just a couple of days time."