FILE – Kevin Anderson of South Africa looks for a return against Jenson Brooksby during a match at the Citi Open tennis tournament, Aug. 2, 2021, in Washington. The two-time Grand Slam finalist announced his retirement from professional tennis on Tuesday, May 3, 2022, at the age of 35. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)


Two-time Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson announced his retirement from professional tennis at the age of 35 on Tuesday.

The 6ft 8in (2.03m) South African was Rafael Nadal’s runner-up at the US Open in 2017 – No. 32 at the time, Anderson was the lowest-ranked runner-up in the history of the tournament – and Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon in 2018.

Anderson has won seven singles titles on the ATP Tour, most recently at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, Rhode Island last July. All of his trophies have been won on the faster surfaces of grass or hard courts, which has helped add punch to his booming serves.

“Tennis has transported me far beyond my roots in Johannesburg, South Africa, and truly given me the world,” Anderson wrote on Twitter in posts about what he called a “decision hard to retire.”

“I’ve been through so many different challenges and emotions; this sport can be exhilarating and lonely at the same time,” he said.

Anderson played college tennis in Illinois, where he won the NCAA men’s doubles championship in 2006 and was an All-American for three seasons. In 2007, he helped Illinois finish second on the team.

After turning professional that year, Anderson won his first home tour-level title in Johannesburg in 2011.

Anderson reached a career high of No. 5 in 2018, following his run to the title match at the All England Club.

This included a 13-11 fifth-set victory over 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the quarter-finals after facing match point, and a 26-24 fifth-set victory over John Isner in the semi-finals, before defeat to 20-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic.

That game against Isner served as a tipping point for the sport’s four major tournaments to discuss adding tiebreakers for the final set – and all four announced this year that they will now play tiebreakers. Tied at 6 in the deciding set (third for women, fifth for men) from now.

Anderson, who turns 36 on May 18, is 1-5 in 2022 and is ranked 107th this week. Elbow injuries limited him to 15 games in 2019.

He hasn’t competed since a three-set loss in his first main draw match at the Miami Open to Juan Manuel Cerundolo in March.

Anderson has been an advocate for reducing the use of plastic on tennis tours and his charitable efforts won him the 2019 Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award.


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