ATP Samsung Securites Challenger Cup Kicks off

When opponents face Kevin Anderson on the tennis court, it must

seem to them like he’s serving from the tree tops. South Africa’s

Anderson stands 6 feet 8 inches (203cm) high, the third- tallest

man on the

ATP world tour. Croatia’s Ivo

Karlovic leads the way for big men at 6 foot 10, followed by 6 foot

9 John Isner of the United States.

Anderson, the world ranked 64th, is seeded second at the

$125,000

ATP Samsung Securities Cup

Challenger event beginning today at the Olympic Park Tennis Center

in Seoul, and ending Sunday, a tournament won seven times since

2000 by Korea’s Lee Hyung-taik.

The top seed is 42-ranked Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan, who beat Andy

Roddick on his way to the quarterfinals at this year’s Wimbledon.

The other seeds are Florent Serra, France; Dudi Sela, Israel;

Somdev Devvarman, India; Frederico Gil, Portugal; Go Saeda, Japan,

and Grega Zemlja, Slovakia.

Anderson, 24, made his breakthrough this summer, reaching the

semifinals in Atlanta, the round of 16 in Toronto – losing 6-2, 7-6

to Rafael Nadal – and the round of 32 at the U.S. Open in

August.

‘My serve is my biggest strength,’ Anderson said, after a Sunday

morning training session at Olympic Park, with South African coach

Louis Vosloo. ‘Since the Australian Open in January, I’ve been

looking to move forward more, to come from the back of the court to

the net, to take advantage of my serve.’

From 2004 through 2007, Anderson attended the University of

Illinois – one of the top schools in the U.S. for tennis _ on a

tennis scholarship, achieving a ranking of number 4 among college

players. He was able to win from the back of the court in college.

But in the pros, players like Roger Federer and Nadal, aren’t going

to miss after ten or twenty-stroke rallies.

‘I was fully a baseline player,’ Anderson, who regularly serves

at 130 mph, (216 kmph), admitted. ‘I hesitated to move forward and

take control of the point.’

When the lanky 195-pounder (89 kg) began to do so after the

Australian Open, the results came quickly. In the first round at

Wimbledon in June, Anderson led two sets to none against top-10

player Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, before succumbing in five tight

sets in four hours and 13 minutes.

‘At Wimbledon, Anderson served and volleyed about two thirds of

the time,’ said Vosloo, formerly ranked 170th in the world and

Anderson’s coach since April. ‘Now, he comes in and volleys about a

third of time.’

Anderson’s new-found aggressiveness has paid off. During spring

and summer, he played a string of top-30 players: Fernando

Gonzalez, Nicolas Almagro, Jurgen Melzer and Richard Gasquet, and

stretched each to the limit.

Anderson was the top junior player in South Africa growing up in

Johannesburg, but due to the national tennis federation being in

turmoil, and almost bankrupt, when he competed at junior grand slam

tournaments, it was with family funding.

‘And South Africa is so far from the tennis scene,’ he said,

adding that is why he moved to Chicago, his base outside South

Africa, in 2004.

The fast Olympic Park courts should suit Anderson’s game in

this, the final ATP event in Korea for 2010.

Spectator Information: Tournament desk information (English) –

02-421-1350; Admission: free; Matches: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily;

Finals: 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24;

The write contriuted this article to The Korea Times.