There is a clear maxim in tennis that you cannot perform well on the court if your mind, your personal life outside it, is not in order. They are factors that are intrinsically related: it is very difficult to be 100% focused on the sport of racket (and in any sport, in general) if your mind not in the ideal place.

It can be played through physical pain, and examples of this are in abundance throughout the circuit, in different ages. That’s something that Kevin Anderson has been trying to do for a long time. Gone were huge game streaks that led the South African to reach two Grand Slam finals. His priority in recent months has been, simply, to be able to enjoy himself on the court without feeling any physical ailment. The South African has only been able to play eight tournaments in the last fifteen months, a figure that has separated him from the positions of privilege and from which he will not be able to recover in all this time without tennis.

Now personally, Kevin is probably going through the best moment of your life. In September last year, his wife Kelsey gave birth to daughter Keira, a boon to the Anderson family. This allowed the Johannesburg player to turn to caring for and raising her instead of being mentally broken from not being able to compete. About his situation, he was honest for the ATP: “Everything is different, of course. This season I have only been able to play a couple of tournaments, I decided to have definitive surgery and now the virus has arrived. I have not been able to live that life as a father while competing Yes, the positive is having been able to spend more time in Florida, at home, with my family. “

When Anderson talks about his daughter, everything else seems totally insignificant. The focus of his life now is on little Keira, of whom he is absolutely absorbed: “I think what fascinates me the most is just look at it, see how he jumps or learns things. There are still many things to come, but the simple fact of listening to her speak, when she smiles while looking at me, all that. Seeing her grow, in short, and seeing her taking small steps has been the most incredible thing of all for me. ”

Of course, if something is clear to Kevin it is that the birth of his daughter is not going to distract him, much less from giving war on the circuit for several more years. After an operation that, he hopes, can cut all physical problems at the root, the South African is clear that he will return with everything when the circuit returns to normal: “There are many things that I still want to achieve, for which I have fought all my life. ambition is still there. Of course, after Australia, which is when I first had this kind of experience, I realized that now there is more distance between what I do on the track compared to what happens at home ”

If there is something good about the circuit, it is that being a parent helps. Let them tell Novak Djokovic, for example, that after Stefan’s birth he experienced one of his best game spikes. “It would be great if five years from now I will still be on the circuit, when Keira has the ability to remember those moments. There is a part of that that I cannot control, anyway. It would be incredible, but there are still many years left, so no it’s something I think about a lot at the moment. I would say that I rather try to enjoy every step he takes, little by little. ” And the last, obligatory question: will Keira follow in her father’s footsteps ?: “He has a toy tennis racket, but not a real one … yet.”