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Retiring Kevin Anderson says motivation and drive were no longer 100%

South Africa's Kevin Anderson waves to fans after the match against Gael Monfils of France at the ATP Shanghai Rolex Masters.
South Africa's Kevin Anderson waves to fans after the match against Gael Monfils of France at the ATP Shanghai Rolex Masters.
Image: Zhong Zhi/ GETTY IMAGES

Former world number five and two-time Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson entertained the thought of giving another major a shot before his shock retirement but decided to walk away.

The 35-year-old Anderson, who won seven ATP Tour singles titles, was the runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the 2017 US Open and to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final in 2018.

One of his career highlights includes having been part of the longest Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon against John Isner which lasted six hours and 36 minutes.

Anderson, who in 2018 became first Nitto ATP Finals semi-finalist from Africa in tournament history since 1970, said his motivation and drive to continue playing the game were no longer 100%.

“It crossed my mind [playing in another major tournament] but at the same time I realised that my whole career has been focused on training professionally, being prepared for tournaments and wanting to do well,” he said.

“After Miami I knew it was time to step away because for me not to be fully vested and prepared was not good enough. Going to play at Wimbledon for the sake of playing one more time would not have been who I am as a tennis player.

“I am OK with that and I am OK stepping back knowing that at all times I gave it my all on and off the court.”

Anderson added he is satisfied with what he achieved in his career and he doesn’t believe he could have done things differently.

“I feel the motivation and passion was there right until the end but it was at about 80 or 90%. My whole life I have been operating on 100% and I feel that’s what it taken for me to compete among the best.

“The idea that I could have done things differently is a question that I sometimes ask myself but I take a different approach and acknowledge that each step along the way I gave it my best and tried to make the best decisions possible.

“It really was impossible for me to have done anything differently. My career is as it is, I can look back knowing that I controlled what I could control. You can’t really control the outcomes, you can’t control injuries.

“I would have liked to play injury free for longer but that wasn’t meant to be. I don’t really like thinking back to what I could have done differently, all I know is that I gave it my best in so many different areas of my life and both on and off the court.

“I know that I leave the sport and my career knowing that I gave it my best and for me that’s what I ultimately set out to do when I first started playing the sport. It has been great being the ambassador for the Rising Stars Challenge and I hope to still be involved with that.”


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