Chennai: Six feet and eight inches tall, South African tennis player Kevin Anderson believes that his height is both a boon and a curse.
"Height is a funny thing in tennis because it definitely helps the serve but it can hinder agility and movement. I have to spend a lot more time working on movement and flexibility than some of my shorter colleagues," the World No.12, who is here to take part in the Chennai Open, said on Saturday.
"That being said though, a tall person can improve upon those weaknesses with hard work while a shorter person can never gain the advantages of a taller serve. In that respect, I'm very lucky to have such tall genes!"
The big-serving Anderson will make his debut at the Chennai Open, scheduled at the SDAT Stadium from January 4 to 10. The top-ranked South African will start the new season on the back of a career-high top-10 ranking in 2015 and a maiden entry to the US Open men's singles quarterfinals after defeating World No.2 Andy Murray.
"Although it is my first ATP event in India, I have played in the country during 2014. My wife and I had a blast in India the first time. The people are wonderful, the tennis fans are some of the best, and the food is excellent. I'm really excited to be playing in the Chennai Open," said the 29-year-old.
"Reaching the quarterfinals of a Slam had been a goal of mine for a very long time. It was a great match with wonderful energy at the US Open. I felt the quality of tennis was high. So to get that win under my belt and finally reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal was an excellent hurdle to overcome."
2015 was a great season for Anderson where he reached three finals and won the third one at the Winston-Salem Open.
"2015 was obviously a great year. I achieved a few of my long-standing goals, which was very rewarding. I'm still working hard to achieve some of my other goals like reaching the top-5 and qualifying for the World Tour Finals. My results last year left me optimistic that my hard work will allow me to continue to improve," said Anderson.
Earlier in the year, he took on World No.1 Novak Djokovic in a gruelling five-setter at Wimbledon, winning the first two sets in what stunned the tennis world.
"Obviously it was a good position to be in when I was two sets up, but I knew I needed to focus on my own game and not let the gravity of the moment weigh on me. Novak is a great competitor and his will to win is practically unmatched," said the Johannesburg-born.
"Although the match proved disappointing in the end, it was a great honour to hear Novak call it one of the most difficult Wimbledon matches he has ever played."
Anderson will be looking to avenge his defeat with a possible clash against defending champion Stan Wawrinka here. It is interesting to note that Anderson-Wawrinka have a 4-4 head-to-head, indicating stiff competition.
Fortunately, the way I play tennis, I don't have to spend too much time analysing or worrying about my opponents. I typically try to focus on my own game and I know if I do that and execute, I can beat anyone," concluded Anderson.