TOKYO, JAPAN - OCTOBER 02:  Kevin Anderson of South Africa plays a backhand against Gilles Simon of France during day one of the Rakuten Open at Ariake Coliseum on October 2, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan.  (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

US Open finalist Anderson chooses Kooyong environment

Posted on December 8, 2017

Two months after playing in his first Grand Slam final Kevin Anderson will prepare for his next major at the 2018 Priceline Pharmacy Kooyong Classic as part of a world-class men’s draw.

 The 31-year-old who is currently at 14 on the ATP Tour rankings became the tallest finalist in Grand Slam when he took on world number on Rafael Nadal in New York last September.

 Ahead of next year’s Australian Open the six-foot-eight South African will play matches at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club in a draw that features four men inside the top 10, including defending champion David Goffin.

 “This year I will be in Melbourne the week leading up to the Australian Open,” Anderson said.

 “This is a very important week leading up to the tournament and as far as preparations go as I like to play practice matches.

 “It was tough having to pull out of the Australian Open due to my recovery from an injury and it took me a while to get my confidence back.

 “After the break in December you are looking for match-play to incorporate the things you have been working on, and to get into that competitive mindset.

 “Usually you play a practice set with another player, but this is a much better environment and there are world class players who play the Kooyong Classic each year, and you get to play a full match.

 “So, it’s really a great opportunity.”

 Marin Cilic will be the highest ranked player at number four in the traditional pre-Australian Open tournament played from January 9 – 12 along with Dominic Thiem (5), Goffin (8) and Pablo Carreno Busta (10).

Click for a link to the men’s full draw.

It took Anderson six years on the tour before making it past the fourth round of a Grand Slam, but in the last 24 months he has ventured into the top 10 rankings and played in a major final.

 In October, 2015 he became the first South African to be ranked inside the top 10 since Wayne Ferreira in 1997 and now has his sights on featuring in the ATP Tour Finals next season.

 “Overall, I felt 2017 was a great year for me,” Anderson explained.

 “But I felt like towards the start of the clay court season I started hitting my stride and then the lead-up to the US Open, which was a very special tournament for me.

 “Making my first final at a Grand Slam, I learned a lot from those two weeks.

 “My biggest aspiration is to make the finals at the end of the year – there are a lot of small steps along the way, so I focus each day to try make that happen.”

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