Victory in Sunday’s Wimbledon final was a bridge too far for Kevin Anderson, but he is nonetheless proud of his achievement at SW19.
In the week leading up to the final, Anderson spent an incredible 13 hours and some change on court, largely due to his fifth set heroics against Roger Federer in the quarters and John Isner in the final four.
His semi-final victory earned him a place in the history books, as Anderson became the first South African in 97 years to reach the Wimbledon final. There, he met a rejuvenated and much fresher Novak Djokovic, who triumphed in straight sets.
When you turn back the clock to 2016, this outcome seemed even more unlikely given a plethora of injuries that kept Anderson off the court and his world ranking slipped to 80 as he started the 2017 season.
“It was about two-and-a-half years ago, just in the team and in the chat on WhatsApp called ‘Top-five Kev’...that was the goal,” revealed the Johannesburg native.
"I got to the top ten that year and things were looking good, then obviously I had a major setback and injuries in 2016.
“So seeing that I made top five, I'm incredibly proud of that achievement, especially if I look back where I was just 15 months ago, around 80. It's really something I can be very proud of.
“Even though today is not the result I was looking for, I think in the next few days, just seeing my new career-high ranking is going to mean a lot to me. I think looking back at some of the matches I've played here, especially my quarter-final and semi-final match, I think it will really sort of set in what I've accomplished. I can be happy with that and use it for continued motivation moving forward.”
While not a prolific winner on the ATP circuit - he has just four titles to his name - Anderson is proving his big match temperament in the grand slams, having also reached the US Open final last year where he lost to an indomitable Nadal.
“I definitely believe I have the game to win these tournaments,” continued Anderson, who fired an incredible 182 aces at Wimbledon.
“If you asked a lot of players [about] their dreams, it's to win Grand Slams, win Masters, even though it was a huge goal of mine, if you asked me this time a year ago, I don't think I could sit here and say I really believed that I could win a Grand Slam and a Masters and say it with the same self-belief and confidence that I can now.”