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Anderson hoping to inspire Africans

On march: Kevin Anderson is into the last-16 of Wimbledon
On march: Kevin Anderson is into the last-16 of Wimbledon

By Steve Simpson

Kevin Anderson believes it could take "10-20 years" before Africa produces another Grand Slam contender such as himself.

The big South African, ranked at eight in the world, reached the Wimbledon last-16 yesterday for the fourth time after he saw off Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 7-5 7-5 to set up a clash with Frenchman Gael Monfils

He has already struck a blow for the continent by becoming the first South African man in 33 years to reach a Grand Slam final when he lost to Rafael Nadal at the US Open last year.

However, the cupboard is bare otherwise. He is the only South African man in the top 200, and the leading Egyptian is 27-year-old Mohammed Safwat ranked at 175, while Morocco's top man is Lamine Ouahab at 629.

"I have been at the top of South African tennis for pretty much a decade now," said Anderson. "I have always said my biggest hope is that players, especially junior players in South Africa, watch me. I'm a sort of source of inspiration for them to pick up tennis, to pursue it."

The problem is money and lack of tournaments. Africa stages just one ATP tournament each year, a low-key clay court event in Marrakech in April.

"In order to get exposure you have to travel to Europe, to the States. On the back of that comes financing," said Florida-based Anderson. "Tennis is prohibitively expensive.

"I'd be surprised if in the next few years you'll see a whole crop of individuals coming up. You'll have to look at it as a 10-, 20-year plan and hopefully in that period of time we'll start to see some more players coming through."

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