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August 11, 2018

Kevin Anderson

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

S. TSITSIPAS/K. Anderson

6-7, 6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What can you tell us about the way the kid played out there today and did you notice much of a difference between this match and the last time you played him earlier in the season?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, I think my match in Estoril was really nothing to take from it. It was probably one of the windiest conditions I have ever played in. It was tough to play at all.

So going in today was a bit of a new match for both of us. And, look, it's obviously incredibly difficult losing a match like where it's so close at such a big stage of the tournament.

I did what I could. I thought he played some really good tennis, especially when it mattered the most. I had a couple of break points end of the second set and then in the third set too. He didn't miss a first serve. He played really well then.

And then obviously on the one match point that I had, he played -- you know, came up with an unbelievable backhand crosscourt winner.

So, you know, it was a very impressive effort from him. I think first player to beat four guys in the top 10 ever or since '99, at any rate. So, you know, I think he's really proving himself. He's taken huge strides forward this week. So definitely it will be, you know, exciting to see what he does in the future.

Q. I just want to say that it was from my perception that you were dictating and creating opportunities and really doing so well in the match and it only came down to a couple of points. What positives would you take from this match going forward?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Lots of positives. As I just said, it's really disappointing and tough losing a match like that. But I felt I played really well. I created chances, and he just came up with really good tennis when it mattered. So all credit to him for doing that.

I feel like I did a lot of things right. So I'm definitely going to walk away with my head up and continue to play the kind of tennis that I'm playing.

Definitely there's a few things I could have done a little bit better today, just a few executions, maybe a few adjustments. I think if I can do that, it could make my life a little bit easier.

But all in all, it feels good to make my second Masters semifinal. One of my goals was to put myself in these positions more often. Obviously would have liked to have taken one more step forward to get into the finals, but I will have to wait until next time.

Q. It looks like Stefanos will play Rafa -- well, there's a good chance he might play Rafa tomorrow in the final. Do you have any advice for him if he's facing that test?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, I'm looking on to that because yesterday somebody asked me what it was like playing Zverev and that wasn't -- you know, that didn't turn out to be.

So regardless of who he's playing -- I mean, Rafa is going to have his hands full. I've played Karen a few times know. He's a really tough player. He hits the ball big. He's been very impressive this week. Obviously historically you would say that Rafa is the favorite going into that match, but by no means -- I think it's going to be a very close match.

I think either way, going into the finals -- I mean, I haven't been in the finals of a master, so it's, you know, different territory for me. Obviously I can draw on my final experience at the two Grand Slams I've been in.

I mean, the biggest thing you try to do is just try to treat it like another match. And I was very impressed with the way he played today's match, you know, being in his first semifinals. It seemed like he handled the situation very well.

I think regardless of who he plays tomorrow, my biggest piece of advice would be you have to try and treat the match like any other match and not let the situation get the better of you.

Q. Did anything about his game surprise you?
KEVIN ANDERSON: You know, I've seen him playing quite a bit now, especially this week. You know, even though it was tough conditions in Estoril, you kind of get a feel for how he plays.

I thought he was really solid from the back today. A lot of times I felt he controlled the ball very well.

I was very impressed with the way he played, as I mentioned earlier, some of the bigger points of the match. Because I felt like I quite a few opportunities. I mean, even in the third, a couple of times I was at deuce. The one game he was up 40-Love, I played three really good points to get it back to deuce to sort of get a sniff in the game, and he ends up hitting two aces. So those are the kind of points that he played very well.

I think the biggest thing I was impressed with was definitely his mental. He played pretty solid throughout the match. So today he definitely deserved to win.

Q. He was using the Nadal return position a little bit at times way back in the court. Obviously you experienced that in the final of the US Open. Is it hard to counter that? What do you do to adjust?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, it's definitely a bit of an adjustment. I think the benefits from guys who do that well is they get a full swing on the ball. You're sort of coming off your serve and you're seeing a ball coming back. And if it's not something that you can sort of dictate on, it sort of neutralizes the point a lot.

You know, so I think that's something I can maybe do a bit of a better job with when guys do go back. I thought he was actually varying his position quite a bit. He was back and forward throughout the match.

But, you know, there's been a couple guys who have played me like that. I guess when you're playing somebody with a big serve one of the options is to stand really close or stand further back.

When I played Thiem in Madrid this year in semis, he was maybe even further than Nadal when I played him at the Open. So I think a couple of guys are doing that.

I mean, for the most part I handle it well. Probably a couple of adjustments I could have done today. But, you know, that's definitely an option that people use.

Q. Where would that match rank on your all-time closest matches played and what other matches would be on that list?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I've had a few this year already. I had two 7-6's in the thirds in the quarters of Indian Wells and Miami. Had a match point on my own serve in Miami against Carreno Busta.

So, I mean, it's tough. What are you going to do at the end of the day after the match. You know, I gave it my all. You know, it wasn't meant to be. It's not like -- you know, you sort of think of what if, but it just didn't happen. I've won a lot of close matches that have gone my way. It was definitely an incredibly close match, 9-7 in the third set break in the semis of a Masters.

So it's not easy to deal with, of course, but that's the nature of our sport. I've always done a good job of picking myself up and taking what I can from it. So I'll certainly do that today as well.

Q. I'm just curious about your mental and physical freshness at this point. Having had the grueling Wimbledon you did, I know you had a bit of time off, but you had tie-breaker in the first match here, rain delays, couple of doubles matches with Novak. Are you feeling fresh for the US Open? You've still got Cincinnati to come. Were you still thinking maybe your feeling the effects of Wimbledon? Can you talk about that?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Obviously played a lot of tennis at Wimbledon and, you know, had a few weeks off afterwards. Had to, you know, sort of recover from a few things as well.

But coming to this week, I think I'm very pleased with how my body reacted. As you said, played singles and doubles. You know, four singles, three doubles, that's seven match in not that many days.

Of course there's always a few aches and pains that you're dealing with, but for the most part -- even in today's match, it was pretty long. Over two and a half hours, and I felt really good. So that's very encouraging for me.

As you say, there's a lot of the tennis coming up. We have Cincinnati next week. I won't be playing doubles there, just focusing on singles. It helps having the bye. So I have at least three days off before going into that match and then a week off after Cincinnati going into the Open.

So the schedule, it looks good. I've got a great team with me. We do a lot of work keeping healthy and keeping strong. So things are feeling good on that front.

Q. Speaking of getting over Wimbledon, how did that doubles partnership with Novak come about? Did he reach out to you or did you reach out to him and how long did it take you to get past the loss before you felt comfortable playing together.
KEVIN ANDERSON: Actually it was pretty quick after the finals. You know, my coach actually chatted with his coach to see if he wanted to play here. And, you know, actually I really enjoyed the experience, I must say. It got to spend a bit more time with Novak.

I think coming into here I didn't really feel, you know, past emotions from Wimbledon. Again, it was a great tournament for me, and I took a lot of positives from that.

And, you know, we played three matches here. I thought we played great. And I must say I really enjoyed the time I spent out there today. I mean, during the week.

Q. Will you play together again?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Maybe. I mean, I don't know any time soon with our schedules and stuff. But, you know, I definitely would like that opportunity again.

Q. There's been so much said over the past few years how the over 30 crowd is continuing to perform at a high level, yourself included. While that's still the case at the Grand Slams, do you get the sense that the NextGen that's beeping hyped is starting to deliver on the promise that we've sort of been hearing about for a little while now?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, potentially I thought it was pretty interesting the semis here. Two guys, myself and Rafa, 32, against two -- I mean, is Khachanov maybe just out of NextGen? But still he can't be more than 22 years old. And obviously Stefanos is only 19. So really interesting contrast.

Obviously Zverev has broken through definitely at the Masters level. He's one three of them now. So that's really impressive.

If you just look through the list, there's a lot of the exciting young players. Even maybe the guys who are just out of the NextGen category. I mean, without going into names, there's some really -- a lot of talented players there.

You know, there's been a bit of a question mark for Grand Slams. We haven't seen that sort of break through yet on that front. But certainly in other tournaments definitely I think you're seeing them at the later stages in tournaments.

Q. Question about the top 5 carrot that you mentioned at Wimbledon. I guess around the time you came up with that was sort of when we were talking about the big five. What was crazier, that you were talking about that or that you actually did it?
KEVIN ANDERSON: I don't think either really. You know, we were talking about it a few years ago when I was top 10. And I have a lot of belief in my game. My whole support team and family also have that.

You have to believe in it and state it to give yourself a chance. Sometimes you can say it, but you don't really completely, you know, buy into it. So I think even just by "fake it until you make it" sort of thing a little bit as well.

And I always had the belief. I was already top 10 in the world. Obviously a big jump from 10 to 5.

But the more I have played these sort of matches and proven it to myself, the more comfortable I've been in these positions.

So I think 18 months ago when I was just coming through injuries, to be five at this point in my career really means a lot to me. As I said, I still have my sights set higher. I still think I can get better. There's parts of my game that still can get better. And I'm still playing a lot, so hopefully I'll be able to continue moving up the ranks.

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