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November 11, 2018

Kevin Anderson

London, England, United Kingdom


6-3, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What do you think made the difference for you today?
KEVIN ANDERSON: I think it was important, you know, going out there and getting off to a good start. I definitely felt a little bit nervous. But I was able to settle very quickly and find a really good rhythm, taking care of my serve games nicely, created quite a few opportunities on his serve.

He wasn't serving at, you know, well, a very high first-serve percentage. I felt I was getting into quite a few points. The second set could have been anybody's set. He started serving well. I was taking care of my serve games. When it's 12-10 in the tiebreak, it really could have gone either way.

I think overall just getting off to a good start helped me a lot today.

Q. What is it about his game that works so well for you? When you look at the head-to-head record now after this match 7-2 in your favor. What is it about his game that you really like?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, going into this year, I was 6-0 against him. Playing him in Madrid, I had that question asked a lot.

I must be honest. Even though I was 6-0, I mean, in Paris a few years ago I saved match point against him. In Washington, he was up a break twice in the third set. I mean, it could have easily been different, the head-to-head record. I feel like we've always had very close matches. Then obviously playing him on clay for the first time, changed the dynamic a little bit.

I don't think there's any particular thing that matches up incredibly well. I just feel like I've played good tennis against him. We've had close matches. I've managed take my opportunities, you know, close out matches better than he has in our head-to-head.

I think from today's match, I did a really good job of not giving him time. I think just overall I've done that pretty well against him. I think that's why he's been such an amazing clay court player because he creates a little bit more time. When he has time, he's just so dangerous.

So I think, you know, I've had to play great tennis against him. I think I've done a great job of just making him feel a little bit uncomfortable. That's why I've had good success against him so far.

Q. How fast is it to play, playing conditions?
KEVIN ANDERSON: It feels pretty good. Obviously it's indoor tennis, so it's going to be on the quicker side. But the court's playing great. You know, it feels maybe a little bit slower than Paris, but all in all, you know, I feel pretty well-adjusted to conditions now. It's definitely taking the serve nicely. It's still bounces up, though, as well, so that's always a good sign for me.

Q. Zverev, I don't know if you saw his comments about the use of towels by some players. You're one of the guys that takes the towel every single point. He's kind of criticized that, saying that things like the towel rack would stop players like you going out and doing that every single point. Do you think that would deter you, would change your rhythm, if you were doing that?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Look, I mean, I think everybody's different. I'm pretty sure he uses a wide grip with no wristband, which for me would be physically impossible. On a hot, humid day I'd be maybe be able to play two points without the racquet flying out my hand.

Some guys are like that. They don't sweat much for the forearms and the hands. I mean, just even using a wristband, using a wide grip for me would be almost impossible. That's why the Tourna Grip has been so great for me because I have pretty sweaty hands on the best of days.

When you take it so often, it becomes part of your rhythm when you're out there. I'd be the first to admit in today's match, I'm not sweating as much. As tennis players you get so used to your routines and your rituals, it is part of my routine and ritual right now.

If they changed the rituals right now, I'd have to adjust. It's born out of that necessity because we play a lot of times in hot and humid conditions, so I have no choice, I have to do that. Whether it's a towel rack or whatever it might be, I'm going to have to use it, or as I did in the old days have a towel tucked in your shorts or whatever. I'd be finding a way.

Then in today's conditions, it's more about that routine and that ritual that you're so used to.

Q. You're more than two meters tall, probably the best mover in the world with such a height. Is there anything specific you do to get that strength?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, I think it started from a young age. My dad, who taught me growing up, was very insistent and he had great foresight to see where the game was going. We spent a lot of time working on my movement from the baseline. That's what I feel more comfortable with. As my career got on, I've been trying to find ways to come forward more.

But especially in today's game, there's a lot of times where guys are playing such great defense that you do find yourself in rallies. Yeah, I mean, I spent a lot of time in my training, both on and off the court, working on my movement.

Having good technique, good footwork patterns, being strong enough, being tall. Some of the forces are a little bit tougher. Just keeping things healthy, as well, because when things are healthy and moving well, it definitely becomes easier to move around.

Q. You've had some big wins in the last year, particularly here in London at Wimbledon. How much do you kind of think those big moments help you in situations like today in the tiebreak and coming up with that great shot on match point?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, ideally, you try to treat every point regardless of what the situation is or where you're playing. I mean, obviously it's much easier said than done.

The more I'm in those positions, I definitely feel more and more comfortable. Yeah, it's not easy. That's where you talk about routines and rituals, everything you go through to try to put yourself in the best possible spot.

It doesn't always work out, but I definitely feel like I'm getting more and more comfortable in those situations, in settings like today, against some of the best players in the world.

Q. You are like an excellent red wine: the older you get the better you are. Do you feel at your peak now or is there some room for improvement still?
KEVIN ANDERSON: I mean, I still think there's room for improvement. If I look at my game, I definitely feel there's some areas that I can continue to get better on. They're very, very small margins. I feel I have done a very good job in the last while in trusting in my game.

I definitely have taken a lot of pride in my work ethic, always looking for ways to improve. Sometimes when you're always looking for ways to improve, you don't trust when you already have. I feel like I'm having a much better balance with that. I still feel like some of my best tennis is ahead of me. I feel like the goals I've set for myself, there's still a lot to play for. Of course, the biggest challenge would be health.

As you get older, it becomes a little bit more tricky. I have a great team behind me, I spend a lot of time trying to stay healthy. As long as I can do that, I think I can keep getting better.

Q. Two different extremes. First, wearing your cap as VP of the players council, do you think the NextGen Finals should become totally official where records count for everything? It's a similar setup to this event when you look at it. That also goes towards rankings. And the last couple years, things have obviously been incredibly good for you on the court. How have you appreciated the extra attention to you, to Kelsey, to the dog, all that? Have you liked it? Have you appreciated it?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, firstly, I think the NextGen has been a terrific initiative. Last year, I forget what the name was, but I know it won one of the best new initiatives in the sporting world, which is great to see. Another successful event here.

I think if you're awarding it points-wise, I think it's a little bit tough because it's limited from an age standpoint. I don't think giving it points right now, maybe that's something we would have to discuss further.

I think obviously with the points is maybe the deciding factor, how official. I mean, I know it's counting guys' head-to-head records. It's great to see for the sport, watching this year, how into it the players were.

Hopefully it will grow and grow. I guess in terms of the points, I think that's probably something we'll have to still think about. My biggest concern would be that it's not open to everybody. Here, you know, this event is open to everybody, if you qualify, it's not based on age, it's based on ranking. So I hope that answers at least some of it.

The second thing, yeah, I mean, it comes with the territory. I feel like my biggest focus is what I do out on the court. Obviously the more success you have, I guess the more in the public eye you get recognized a little bit more. I think between us, because you say Kels, and Katie, as well, I think we've always had a good perspective on it.

I feel like it hasn't changed our lifestyles too much, which is great. The stuff we enjoy doing hasn't really changed a whole lot.

I think we both enjoyed trying to become a bit more active. I've obviously been on the council for a while, really passionate about leading. I've talked about some of the initiatives I'd like to get involved with moving forward. I know Kelsey started getting more involved. She's looking at starting a whole group with some of the players' wives and girlfriends. I think they can do some great work with that, as well.

So far I think it's been something that's been very positive for us.

Q. I think it must be the tallest quarterfinals ever, particularly in Novak's group. Since you do move well, what is the toughest thing about being tall for you? Do you feel this is kind of a coincidence that so many tall players are doing well or if it's kind of the future?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, it's something that I think has been discussed a lot over the last while because there's definitely been more and more successful who are tall.

I think the biggest thing when you are taller, a couple things, sometimes moveability is a little tougher, change of direction, getting to lower balls. That's something that you have to work I think a little bit harder on.

But I think it's changed the perspective a little bit. When you see other guys that are tall moving well, you are a kid, it changes the way you see the game. That's often the case. I mean, I'm not an expert on basketball, but a lot of those guys are very, very tall, and they move very, very well. I think it's sort of led into tennis.

You see other guys. Maybe myself, a Del Potro, Berdych, moving very well. That's just a few of the guys. I think you could name a whole lot more.

New kids coming up, watching us playing, who may be tall, just changes the dynamic and changes the perception. I think that's always, you know, a pretty important aspect.

Just like getting older, guys are playing much better into their 30s, it changes the perspective. You see Roger play so well at, you know, 37, whatever he is right now. That definitely changes the dynamic quite a lot.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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