CULTURE CLUB • November 2018
Tennis pro and native South African Kevin Anderson dazzled the world with his performance in this year’s Wimbledon championships, beating Roger Federer in a nail-biting match to later reach the final. As he heads back to Johannesburg to recharge – we talk to the athlete about his love of braais, his canine travel companion, and the must-not-miss experiences in his home nation
It’s difficult to get home more often because of my travel and tournament schedule. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many tournaments in that part of the world, but the last few years I’ve managed to get home for around three weeks in November. My parents live in Johannesburg and so I tend to fly there first.
The first time my wife visited from the USA we went on a trip to Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Durban. When I was growing up, I spent some time in these cities because they hosted a lot of junior tournaments, and we also had a holiday home in South Broom on the south coast of Natal near Durban – the beaches are wonderful and you can really get away from the hustle and bustle.
It was such a great step forward for me and a fantastic memory, I would have loved to have gone one step further, but it was such a memorable two weeks. I think it was especially because of the matches that I had, beating Roger Federer and then winning one semi-final match. The amount of support I had especially back in South Africa was incredible – even getting to speak with President Ramaphosa before the finals. It’s given me a lot of confidence to keep working.
We get spoilt with the destinations we get to travel to, especially during the Grand Slams – the Australian, French, US Open and Wimbledon – each has a unique feeling to it. I’ve lived in the USA for a while and I get a lot of support there – there’s the Miami Open which I always enjoy playing because it’s near our home in Florida.
My wife travels with me, which is a huge support. We also recently adopted a rescue dog – a Chiweenie, which is a cross between a Chihuahua and a Dachshund – she comes with us to the countries that she’s allowed in to. I also always pack my guitar – I’ve been playing for the past six years.
Braai (like a South African barbecue) isn't just about the food, but the company too. Often a braai takes place over several hours, and always with family and friends. Despite travelling the world as much as I have, I find South African food to be of such fantastic quality. Biltong, a local dry cured meat, is something I always have when I’m back home. I’ve found a couple of places I can get it in the USA so I can get my fill.
I travelled with my parents to Stellenbosch a few years ago to the Vergelegen Estate – it’s around 300 years old and has these amazing thousand-year-old trees. There are many excellent wineries – especially in the Cape Town area, it’s worth taking a day or two to fit in a tasting.
Kruger National Park is a main hotspot. There’s something so unique about being out in the wild, especially in today’s world. Addo Elephant Park just outside of Port Elizabeth is fantastic – I’ve only been on safari three or four times so when I have a bit more time, I want to do more.