September 5, 2017 / 8:11 AM / in a year

Tennis - Meet Kelsey Anderson, the woman behind South Africa's No. 1

NEW YORK (Reuters) - She is the woman behind the man who wants to break American hearts at the U.S. Open.

Sep 3, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Kevin Anderson of South Africa hits a volley against Paolo Lorenzi of Italy (not pictured) on day seven of the U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Kelsey Anderson is the wife of Kevin Anderson, the South African who plays Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals on Tuesday, head of her husband’s support team and a woman fast forging a reputation as a force behind his resurgence.

The Andersons met while at the University of Illinois where Kelsey, an American who is now a qualified accountant, was on the golf team. After marrying in 2011, Kelsey put her career on hold to follow her husband on Tour.

“I manage his book-keeping and I will deal with flights and hotel bookings,” she said in an interview.

“We all do our part and I’d like to think I have an important role on the team in taking some pressure off him. We do our best just so that he can focus on the game.”

Anderson reached the top 10 in October 2015, soon after making his first U.S. Open quarter-final, and though injuries affected him last year, he is closing in on the world’s top 20 once more.

According to Kelsey, there are a few more wives and girlfriends on Tour now than there were a couple of years ago but apart from Roger Federer’s wife, Mirka, who used to help with the Swiss’s press relations until the demands became too great, few women have been as active in their partner’s business.


Considering the career she could have had – and may yet have as she plans to keep her CPA (Certified Public Accountant) licence active – Anderson said it had been a sacrifice, but she has long given up worrying about being called a WAG.

Instead, she spends much of her time trying to make sure her 6ft 8in husband gets to fly business class, usually using upgrades through their air miles.

She also takes care of hotel bookings, which, she said, cost “around $3,000 per week”, since they have to book three rooms for themselves, his coach and, for about 20 weeks a year, his physio.

Travelling together means the costs are high – she estimates they spend about $100,000 per year just on travel and accommodation – but since they have travelled together, results have been good.

In addition to running the business side of his day to day life, Kelsey has co-founded RealLifeTennis with her husband, a service which offers online tennis instruction.

As well as drills and advice, it also includes: “Tour Wife Tales”, a blog she has written about life on the tennis Tour, which has been well-received, especially by the players.

Anderson watches all of her husband’s matches, trying to strike a balance between being supportive and calm, never an easy task.

Victory for Anderson on Tuesday would be the ultimate team effort.

Reporting by Simon Cambers; editing by Ken Ferris

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