“Took a Step in the Right Direction”: Kevin Anderson Reflects on Win Over Frances Tiafoe at Estoril Open 2021

Published 04/27/2021, 5:27 AM EDT
South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in action during his quarter final match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev REUTERS/Lisi Niesner


At 34, Kevin Anderson isn’t short on motivation to compete and had to dig deep to open his campaign at the Millenium Estoril Open on Monday.

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Rallying back from a set down, the veteran South African tennis star finished on the winning side of two fiercely contested tie-breaks to come through on clay against tricky American Frances Tiafoe.

Anderson says that even if he had lost his Estoril opener, he would have been happy with his game

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Speaking to reporters after winning his opening clash in the Portuguese city, Anderson said that it was a high-intensity match going right down to the wire and he was “really happy” to have come out at the winning end of it in the end.

He said that neither he nor his opponent were willing to take a step back and the result was “high quality tennis” on both sides.

Kevin Anderson celebrates winning his quarter final match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

“It was obviously a very, very close match. I think there were a lot of positives, a lot of really high quality tennis, especially from midway through the second (set) until the end of the match, I was really happy with the way I played,” the current World No. 105 said.

The veteran added that the most pleasing aspect from his perspective was how he didn’t let his intensity flag and stayed in the hunt even in moments when his fitness, endurance, and resolve were tested.

He said that even if he had come out on the wrong side of the match, he would have been happy given the way he scrapped and fought back after being literally pinned to a wall. “I think even if I had lost that match, obviously it’s always tough losing, but I definitely felt I took a step in the right direction today,” Anderson said.

Making his first appearance on clay this year at an event where he reached the semifinals in 2017, the 6’8” South African said that the win is a “bonus” to how he played as it would enable him to come back and battle for a place in the quarter-final.

Kevin Anderson says he’s playing very good tennis but needs more self-belief

The 34-year-old Anderson, who has a win/loss record of 3-3 so far this season, said that he is playing good tennis at the minute but needs more winning momentum and self-belief going into his system to compete against top players.

“I feel like I’m playing really good tennis, it’s just about getting that momentum, that self-belief to where I want it to be. As always, I just feel like it’s so important to take it one step at a time,” Anderson said.

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DIVE DEEPER

Estoril Open 2021: Kevin Anderson vs Kei Nishikori Preview, Head-to-Head & Prediction

14 days ago

The South African will play resurgent Japanese star Kei Nishikori for a place in the quarter-final on Wednesday.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

840 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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