South African Kevin Anderson, who made it to his first Wimbledon final after a marathon battle against John Isner, has insisted that his best tennis is still ahead of him.
Anderson slugged it out against Ishner on Centre Court for six hours and 35 minutes before the eighth seed came through 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 26-24. The final set alone lasted for two hours and 50 minutes. The match was the longest semifinal match in the history of Wimbledon Championships and the second longest overall at the All England Club.
“I feel like some of my best tennis I feel is still ahead of me. Look at the game, I think there are still areas I can do better, improve both physically, mentally, emotionally… Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep it up because there’s still a lot that I want to play for in terms of achievements,” ATPWorldTour quoted Anderson as saying after the match.
He also said the match was beyond a “normal tennis match or tactics”. “You’re really in a war of attrition out there. It’s way beyond a normal tennis match or tactics. I mean, it’s just who’s going to outlast each other.”
Anderson and Isner are old friends and there was very little celebration from the South African as he went over to the other side of the net to embrace his beaten rival.
“Coming through that match, obviously, I’m ecstatic to be through to the finals, at the same time you feel like it should be a draw … Definitely feel for John, as well,” he added.
The Isner v Anderson match broke the previous record for the longest semi-final at the Wimbledon, when Djokovic needed four hours and 44 minutes to beat Juan Martin del Potro in 2013. It was the third-longest match in tennis history, falling short of the 11 hours and five minutes that it took for Isner to beat France’s Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set in their first-round match at Wimbledon in 2010.
“It’s not easy losing matches, regardless of the scoreline, in this sort of setting, semi-finals at Wimbledon,” said the South African.
“I don’t know what got me through today’s match other than just a will to try to succeed, keep pushing myself,” he added.
The 32-year-old said that all he tried to do during the entire match was to keep fighting. “I tried as much as I could to just keep fighting. I take a lot of pride in that. Fortunately, I was able to find a way over the finish line.”
Anderson, who made it to the semis after beating Swiss maestro Roger Federer in one of the classics in this edition of the championships, will face either Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final.