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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday July 20, 2021

At 35, Kevin Anderson is well aware that his time on the ATP Tour is limited, and that is why the former World No.5’s performance at Newport last weekend has him hopeful that he may be able to finish up his career on his terms.

Tennis Express

After rolling to the title at the Hall of Fame Open over the weekend, where Anderson won five consecutive matches for the first time since he stormed to the Vienna title in 2018, Anderson talked about how the victory is a giant leap forward and a sign that there are better days to come for him, maybe even this summer.

For Anderson, who underwent season-ending right knee surgery in September of 2019 and a second right knee surgery in February of 2020, the ability to make it through five matches unhindered by any type of injury is a big success in and of itself.

"It's very important, it's been a long time since I've been able to play five matches like this," he said after winning the Newport title. "So I can take a lot of confidence. It's a bit of trial and error, of finding out what works, finding out what treatment, what you are trying to do on the rehab standpoint, but I think for the last while, I know Estoril was really difficult because it wasn't even that bad of an injury it was just unfortunate timing that just cost me really the whole clay season, and that's kind of been a bit of the case this year."

Anderson had to pull out at Vienna last year after reaching the semis (in the second set vs Andrey Rublev), and this spring he suffered another injury setback which forced him to retire at Estoril after a set in his quarterfinal match with Marin Cilic.

He says staying healthy and getting in consistent reps on the practice court makes a lot of difference in the quality of his tennis.

"In the last while, the bigger things I've been able to keep at bay, and I've been able to give myself an opportunity to come out and play day in and day out, and that's what you really need to do - not just to have success but to build that momentum, build that confidence in your game.

"Conditions were really tough this week, I can take a lot of confidence in the way I responded, and I think it was a really big steppingstone."

Anderson has just taken a wild card into the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., which begins July 31.

After climbing 39 spots to 74 in the ATP rankings, the highest-ranking South African in ATP history can look forward to creating more waves during the US Open series. The two-time Grand Slam finalist, who owns 350 career wins, hopes that last week’s success is just the beginning of a larger trend.

"It's really nice to be back in this position, and it's been quite a while - quite a journey,” he said. “Knee surgeries, several other injuries, a lot of time on the practice courts, trying to figure things out. Finding the game, finding that trust, dealing with those different difficult moments, so getting the title really means a lot.

"It's a great start for me heading into the summer and heading into the rest of the year. I kind of felt like I've been knocking on this door to sort of find that little breakthrough. It's still a journey and there are still a lot of steps to go to where I want to get to but this is a very important step for me."


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