Anderson defends Davis Cup withdrawal
South Africa’s top-ranked tennis player, Kevin Anderson, has hit back at critics in defence of his decision to make himself unavailable for the crucial Davis Cup World Group playoff against Canada this week.
Having also lost the services of SA number two Rik de Voest on the eve of the tie, the South Africans were up against a wall heading into the clash against a powerful Canadian outfit in Montreal.
Anderson, who was set to turn out in the World Team Tennis finals in the United States this weekend, said the facts had been distorted in the media and he hoped to set the record straight.
The big-serving South African, ranked 37th in the world, wrote on his blog on Friday that fear of injury and loss of income had contributed to his Davis Cup absence.
“Tennis South Africa (TSA) has never provided financial support or funding to help cover the costs of playing on the tour,” Anderson wrote.
“In 2011 I played Davis Cup because it was financially attractive to do so.
“I was able to cover my expenses during the Davis Cup week and also the opportunity cost of adjusting my tournament schedule.
“However, for this tie against Canada, TSA was not able to provide the support that justified me sacrificing my schedule and increasing my risk of injury.
“If I am injured during Davis Cup play, which happened last year, I receive no support, assistance or insurance from anybody. I am on my own.” Anderson said his full-time coach and physiotherapist cost him $250 000 a year (R2 million).
According to the ATP Tour website, Anderson has made $539 908 (R4.5 million) in prize money this year.
His career earnings amount to $1.9 million (R16.4 million) from singles and doubles tournaments.
“Critics insinuate that the honour of playing for one’s country should necessitate a player to compete in Davis Cup ties, regardless of what financial incentives are (or are not) being offered,” he wrote.
“Of course, playing for my country is a massive incentive to play, but I would be foolish not to weigh the consequences as well.” He said his decision to play in the World Team Tennis finals had been made months after he opted out of the Davis Cup tie.
Anderson added that the possibility of playing two five-set singles matches and a doubles rubber over a three-day period created injury and health concerns.
“It has been suggested in the press and by Davis Cup captain JL de Jager that I fabricated an injury to excuse myself from Davis Cup, while having the intention of playing WTT all along,” he wrote.
“Not only is this completely untrue and unrepresentative of the facts, but it is also impossible given that the WTT team I will play for had not qualified for the finals until early August.” Tennis SA named the Davis Cup team in August, announcing that Anderson was unavailable due to a knee injury.
Three days later, when it was revealed that he was playing in the World Team Tennis finals, De Jager told Sapa the news was “shocking and inexplicable”.