Kevin Anderson believes he is on the right path despite a heartbreaking fourth-round defeat to Novak Djokovic in their marathon five-set match on Court One.
The big-serving South African looked like he had nailed the defending Wimbledon champion when he surged into a two-set lead yesterday.
Anderson hadn’t taken a set off Djokovic since 2008 and appeared poised to claim a first quarter-final slot at SW19.
But Djokovic is a champion who doesn’t countenance surrender and he fought back to take the third set in just 27 minutes before levelling the match by taking the fourth set.
Play was halted because of bad light just after 9pm and when hostilities resumed at 13.00 today, Anderson was given a golden opportunity with two break points in the fourth game.
He couldn’t seize it, and as his challenge slipped beneath the waves of the relentless Djokovic tide, the 6ft 8in man was left lamenting the one that got away.
Anderson said: “Tennis is tough like that. Coming into this week, it was definitely my goal to progress further than I have at the slams. I came a lot closer this time than I have in the past, but it just wasn’t close enough.
“Playing him [Djokovic] is tough. I felt like I was in the match, but he just keeps on coming, he just makes so many balls.
“I think there were a couple times I saw him being a bit frustrated. I was obviously serving well. That was my goal, to try and be aggressive and try to keep him out of his comfort zone.
“Definitely I feel like I’m on the right path in the stuff I’m doing.”
Djokovic saluted his opponent, who dispatched a barrage of 40 aces past the Serb and looked to have him rattled in the final set.
The defending champion berated himself loudly as Anderson dug in to halt his progress in the sixth game and Djokovic paid tribute to his play.
Djokovic said: “It was a very difficult match, one of the most difficult in my Wimbledon career, that’s for sure.
“I thought Kevin played exceptionally well throughout the entire match. Maybe he dropped his level a little bit in the third set. But other than that, he was serving very efficiently,.
“With that kind of serve and the aggressive groundstrokes, he’s a very, very tough opponent on any surface, especially on grass.”