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November 17, 2018

Kevin Anderson

London, England, United Kingdom

N. DJOKOVIC/K. Anderson

6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You beat Novak Djokovic during your last meeting at the Laver Cup. What was the key difference?
KEVIN ANDERSON: It was tough. I mean, obviously at this sort of setting, you knew Novak was going to go out, he's been playing great tennis all week, he was just really solid today. From my side, it was pretty disappointing. I didn't really play a very good match. I felt very unsettled right from the beginning.

In order to have beaten him, I would have needed to at least be feeling very comfortable, moving well, executing at a high level, serving well. Just wasn't able to do any of that.

Where it gets tough is he doesn't give you any room to find your way in the match. He's just on you the whole time. It was really a tough match for me today, very tough at times being out there because I wasn't feeling great. He makes life even more difficult. But, I mean, that's why he's one of the best players of all time.

Q. When we're watching Novak from the stands, compared to other players, you can see a couple of weaknesses or areas that you can target. Novak in this form at the minute, his serve seems perfect, his returning game has always been brilliant, perfect off both wings. When you enter a game, what sort of tactic can you have to beat him? What does Zverev have to do tomorrow?
KEVIN ANDERSON: From my side, going in there, I knew I had to take care of my serve games. I've got one of the best serves in the world. I felt like on a very good serving day, it's going to be some close games. But I had to figure out a way to get it done.

If I look at the match in Shanghai as an example, I was broken once in the second, but outside of that I thought I did a good job of taking care of my serve games. I think a big difference in those two matches is my comfort level was much, much higher in Shanghai.

But yeah, I mean, it's tough because he's serving really well the last few weeks. He's not losing many points on serve. From the return standpoint, he's returning well, playing well. Definitely makes life difficult.

Alex is playing great tennis, in the finals. I know Novak is really going to respect the challenge that Alex brings. Alex is going to have to take care of his serve games well, try to make Novak real uncomfortable. I think it's really going to be a good match to watch.

Q. What are your plans for the off-season? Have you had a chance to discuss with your team what you're doing next year yet? Are you doing anything more with the California firefighters?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I actually don't know yet. Typical life of a tennis player. Honestly I do not know. We're going to have to chat with my team, my family, see what my next few weeks are like.

My next event, I start the year in Abu Dhabi, Pune, Australian Open after that. Obviously finding the balance between spending time at home, recovering, then starting the year again training.

I'm doing a charity event December 15th, which I'm really excited about. It's for the local dog rescue, an initiative called Ocean Conservancy, Trash Free Seas. Excited about that. We did a small thing for the Californian wildfires. It's terrible to see the scope and magnitude. I'm sure we're looking at ways we can continue to help with that cause, as well.

Q. Novak suggested on court after his match that most of the guys here are now starting to dig deep to find the resources to carry on playing. You've gone quite deep this week, not played this week before. How are you feeling? Did you start to feel your energy levels were depleting?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Not really. It's such a fantastic event, super excited the whole week. Played two great matches to start off with, two very tough matches for me the last two, obviously against two very experienced opponents.

No, I mean, I didn't feel that way at all. I felt really excited. This is the week that we look forward to all year. You worked all year to get here. There's definitely not a feeling of sort of weariness because playing out in that stadium gives you so much energy, as well.

It definitely wasn't -- from my standpoint, I can't look at it from a fatigue standpoint. Obviously it's important for me to rest and recover because it has been a number of weeks on the road, but out there today I don't think that was a factor for me.

Q. Independent from the performance you presented, you faced Novak Djokovic, known him for a while. How do you rate the moment he is right now tennis-wise compared to other heights he's had in his career?
KEVIN ANDERSON: I've played him quite a few times. Earlier this year: Can he regain some of the form he's had over the last few years? My response was it would be very tough because he set the bar so high. It only seems like these last few weeks, he's back at his best.

You have to ask him how he feels. It would be really interesting to hear his perspective of how he feels. From an outside perspective, it's remarkable what he's done since Wimbledon, the tennis he's playing, some of the stats. I can't imagine he was more dominant on serve even in his best years than he has been especially these last few months. This week has been really impressive. I don't think he's been broken this week.

It seems like he's definitely right back playing some of the best tennis of his career. It certainly seems that way. His results only would suggest that, as well.

Q. Have you encountered any specific physical problems in the run-up to this match?
KEVIN ANDERSON: No, I've actually felt from a body standpoint really healthy throughout this whole week, which has been great. This long into the season, I think that's been really encouraging for me.

The last two matches, just physically felt a little bit out of sorts. I think maybe the opponents I was playing, maybe a little bit of the occasion got to me in some senses. Didn't have the same sense of freedom and relaxation throughout those last two matches, say, for the first two. You really need to be at your best in order to compete.

That was a little bit tough for me because I think I've done a much better job with that this year being very composed and feeling well-situated in some of the biggest matches. It was a little tough over the last two days. From an actual physical sense, everything felt pretty good.

Q. This year London, semis in Wimbledon, semis here, a good achievement for South African tennis. Do you think they appreciate semis?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I hope so. First African here in a long time. Of course, I would have loved to have done better the last two matches because I got off to such a good start.

I mean, right now obviously it's very disappointing, upsetting not being able to play a little bit better today, maybe put myself in a position to where I'm still playing tomorrow. That was the goal coming into this week.

But finishing the year at my career-best ranking, there's been a lot of positives. As always, we'll take the positives, keep my head up. As a team, we'll look for ways to improve because I still think there's improvement, there's still a lot of objectives that I've set for myself for next year.

Q. During the second set, you were surprised when you got a warning for obscenity. Was that a misunderstanding with the umpire or did you say something you didn't realize?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I feel like I hold myself pretty highly accountable out there. What I said -- yeah, I think it was a misunderstanding. If I did swear, it was definitely under my breath. I didn't mean for it to be heard by anybody. Obviously, that wasn't great. Obviously frustrated out there. Definitely not an excuse. Hopefully make sure definitely that won't happen again.

Q. How is it to serve against Novak? I'm sure you're thinking you didn't serve as well as you should have and you can. It seems he's reading your serve so well. Is the pressure so high that you're losing your serve?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, obviously he has an unbelievable read on the serve, makes a lot of returns. I needed to have done a better job of serving at a higher percentage today. Missing a few too many serves.

More importantly, my second serve effectiveness and winning percentage was way too low today. Low against Federer, as well. Far below what I've been able to achieve this year and over my career, as well. That's something we're going to have to look at and figure out what was going on there.

I don't think he missed too many second serve returns either. I felt like I was being aggressive on some of them. It's pretty tough because then you get in sort of baseline exchanges. I knew going into the match I needed to have been comfortable in those. I have been in the past. But just the way I was feeling today, a step slow, just made things very, very difficult.

Q. You mentioned your objectives for next year. Do you set a rankings goal for yourself, a title you want to win? How do you see the landscape of tennis in 2019? Djokovic dominance? Old guard? Push through for the Next Gen stars?
KEVIN ANDERSON: It will be interesting. It's tough to sort of see too much. The way that Novak has ended, you definitely have to expect him to be up there. I mean, obviously Nadal is going to be healthy, I'm sure. He's always a force to be reckoned with, to say the least. Roger continues to amaze.

But then you also have the likes of Murray is going to be back and healthy. I think Stan is going to be continuing. Del Potro. There's so many players, I can't name everybody now. Of course you have all of the young guys as well.

I'm definitely looking at putting myself in the mix there. Top five was a big goal of mine for a long time. Hopefully next year this time I'll finish top three. I think that will be a great goal for me. In order to do that, you're going to have to have very good results at Masters Series and slams. Hopefully I'll have a couple of titles, Masters Series, being in finals there, putting myself in finals of slams, hopefully winning one. That's the ultimate goal.

I feel like I've put myself in a position where I feel like I'm a contender, a legitimate one. There's some things I need to do better at certain stages of tournaments, but that's what we'll be working at.

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