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The tennis world has reacted with sadness after 35-year-old South African star Kevin Anderson announced his retirement from the sport.
Standing at 2.03m tall, the South African was the runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the US Open in 2017 — World No.32 at the time, Anderson was the lowest-ranked finalist in tournament history — and to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon in 2018.
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Anderson enjoyed a brilliant career having won seven ATP titles and having reached a career-high ranking of World No.5 on his run to the All England Club final in 2018.
The South African said it was a 'difficult decision to retire', but thanked tennis for the journey that started from his hometown in Johannesburg.
"Tennis carried me far beyond my roots in Johannesburg, South Africa, and truly gave me the world," Anderson wrote on Twitter.
"I've experienced so many different challenges and emotions; this sport can be exhilarating and at the same time lonely.
"As a kid, my dad used to tell me that success isn't defined by results, but by the effort and sacrifice you make along the way in becoming the best you can be. I gave it my best."
Tennis world reacts to Kevin Anderson retirement
Anderson holds the record for being the tallest grand slam finalist in tennis history.
Many in the tennis world took to social media to praise Anderson's career, but also to laud his personality and kindness on the Tour.
Kevin Anderson, the tallest Grand Slam finalist in tennis' history, retires.
Great guy that loved Portugal! https://t.co/Dd7E5Ekyae
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) May 3, 2022
Good luck for the future, Kevin Anderson. https://t.co/GJU4kOBsl9
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) May 3, 2022
Two-time Slam finalist Kevin Anderson, the best South African player of the 21st century so far, announces his retirement. https://t.co/6GtLKzQ4yQ
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 3, 2022
Former top 5 player Kevin Anderson has retired from pro tennis at age 35. A class act who played college #tennis & peaked relatively late in 2017 & 2018: reaching a US Open & Wimbledon final after winning a marathon semifinal vs John Isner at the All England Club https://t.co/zF1myF3LS5
— Christopher Clarey 🇺🇸 🇫🇷 🇪🇸 (@christophclarey) May 3, 2022
🔹2017 US Open finalist
🔸2018 Wimbledon finalist
🔹Top-5 singles ranking
Congratulations on a great career, Kevin Anderson! pic.twitter.com/dPxVkw6XpU
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) May 3, 2022
Former world no. 5 Kevin Anderson decided to retire from professional tennis.
The South African has been Grand Slam finalist twice (US Open 2017 & Wimbledon 2018) and won seven ATP titles in his career. pic.twitter.com/MQUwulGCBI
— Relevant Tennis | Stats & Info (@RelevantTennis) May 3, 2022
Kevin Anderson - one of just *56* men to reach multiple Grand Slam singles finals in the Open Era
The tallest Grand Slam finalist in tennis history, the South African giant retires having squeezed every last ounce out of his talent
— Bastien Fachan (@BastienFachan) May 3, 2022
Congratulations to our reigning Infosys Hall of Fame Open champion, Kevin Anderson, on an exceptional career!
Proud to be the home of your final title on the @ATPTour 🏆🌱🇿🇦 Wishing you and your family all the best in the next chapter!#infosyshalloffameopen | #ATPNewport pic.twitter.com/6abz9snT46
— Tennis Hall of Fame (@TennisHalloFame) May 3, 2022
Kevin Anderson, like so many tennis players, had the time of day for everybody. But he stood out in that regard. Easy to talk to, articulate, kind. Good person. Great career. Awesome to see him make a few Slam finals and get that top 5 ranking.
— Chris Oddo (@TheFanChild) May 3, 2022
Anderson is currently South Africa's greatest tennis player of the 21st century.
Many fans remember Anderson's enthralling run to the Wimbledon final in 2018.
This included a 13-11 fifth-set victory over 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the quarter-finals after facing a match point, and a 26-24 fifth-set victory over John Isner in the semi-finals, before the loss to 20-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic.
That match against Isner served as the tipping point for Wimbledon to use tie-breakers for the final set . All four announced this year they now will play tie-breaks at six-all in the deciding set.
Anderson subsequently slid out of the top 100 following a succession of knee, shoulder, ankle and elbow injuries and is currently ranked 107.
He last competed in the Miami Open in March.
Anderson has been an advocate for reducing plastic use on the tennis tours and his charitable efforts earned him the 2019 Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award.
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