ProTennisFan: I have to start with the incredible run that you guys had this year at Wimbledon. Just wondering, has that accomplishment sunk in yet for both of you?
Kelsey Anderson: Yeah, I think it’s definitely sunk in. Obviously those are the types of positions that as a tennis player or the spouse of a tennis player you dream of putting yourself in, to be competing for some of the biggest titles in our sport, so it was really a dream come true and it’s been a lot of hard work and a really long journey and road to get to this point. Kevin’s maybe not one of the most well-known players on tour but he has been around for quite some time and this has been a very long time coming so we’re very, very happy.
ProTennisFan: That’s Kevin’s second Grand Slam final within the past year, so this is becoming something where he is certainly getting more recognized for these results. How did this compare to the final of the US Open where that was his first appearance in a major final.
Kelsey Anderson: I think definitely both from the team and as well as Kevin’s own perspective I think he felt a lot more comfortable the second time around competing in the later stages of a Slam. When he’d made the finals of the US Open I don’t even think he’d been past the quarter-finals of a Slam before, so it really was uncharted territory for Kevin and that can be quite unnerving. Especially you’re coming up against guys like Rafael Nadal or Djokovic who have competed in finals countless times and it becomes a little intimidating knowing that they have that much more experience than you at that level and I think that’s why maybe over the last ten years why we’ve seen such a dominance by a select few who’ve made multiple Slam finals because most other people don’t have the experience in those stages and it makes it really challenging and the mental aspect of that is not something that I think other people should underestimate. For Kevin to be able to join such an elite group of people who’ve achieved two Grand Slam finals in this Era of tennis is something that I’m just so proud of. I really couldn’t have hoped for a better result.
ProTennisFan: You talk about those dominant guys and Kevin got his first career win against Roger Federer at – of all places – Wimbledon. How special was that for him and for you both?
Kelsey Anderson: Kevin and I don’t look at the draw, so we didn’t know who he was going to play if he did reach the later stages of the tournament. We would kind of find out each round after he had won. So, when he beat Monfils, which in and of itself we knew was going to be really tall order, and we were so happy for him to get through that match, it was a very close match, closer than even the scoreline indicated – it felt to me, and when he was able to reach the quarterfinal for the first time at Wimbledon and then you see he’s playing Roger Federer who’s had a spectacular year so far, and obviously grass is his strongest surface potentially, and he’s just one of the greatest competitors that tennis has ever seen, that kind of takes the wind out of your sails a little bit –
ProTennisFan: So you guys had no idea that Roger was up next really up until that point?
Kelsey Anderson: No we didn’t know – I mean, we knew that Kevin was in the top half of the draw, so we knew that Roger was in his half, but that was more or less all we knew, so yeah when we found that out obviously you feel a little disappointed in a way, but also excited for the opportunity to compete against somebody like that it’s obviously an honour to play somebody who’s so accomplished especially on that kind of stage, so it was both a challenge and a little bit daunting at the same time if that makes any sense.
ProTennisFan: I’ve got to ask, those five set matches, those grueling five set matches that are suddenly getting so much attention - should we cut down to a tiebreak in the fifth set? Where does Kevin stand, where do you guys stand on that after going through some tough ones at Wimbledon on that issue?
Kelsey Anderson: I think Kevin prior to Wimbledon this year had, not the strongest of opinions on the long fifth set. I think being involved in the player council and some of the players who are making decisions about changes to the sport year in and year out Kevin has had to form opinions about some of these things. Kevin, prior to the long match he had with John was not super strong one way or the other. I think he recognized the history and the challenge that a long fifth set presents in the format of the game. But I think now having experienced it, I think he just feels personally – I mean he was very outspoken about this, so you can go back and see exactly what he said if you want – but in summary it seemed like he felt at some point it becomes unnecessary and it seems as if both the fans and the players and the television/media coverage they would all like a more predictable format and five sets in and of itself can be very unpredictable as far as length, so I think Kevin just felt that for the sake of most everybody involved that the way forwards would be to change the format. It remains to be seen if that’ll happen. Obviously Wimbledon places a huge emphasis on history and they’ve had some really historic matches, mainly John’s longest match ever which took place there which was almost twice as long as the match that Kevin and John played this year so they still didn’t change it after that so, I wouldn’t expect any changes to come but I do think it would be welcome by many, many different groups of players and supporters alike.
ProTennisFan: How was the recovery for that Wimbledon final? How big a concern was that in terms of recovery for you guys leading up to the final against Novak?
Kelsey Anderson: Yeah, I mean it wasn’t – obviously it’s not ideal - you’re really, really happy to be putting yourself in a position to complete for the final but after going through such a grueling, physical battle it’s a little bit tough to bounce back from that. Kevin that night he woke up around four in the morning and his feet were killing him. Like he couldn’t even lay in bed, so I had to go wake up his physiotherapy at 4:30 in the morning and have him come and do a little treatment on Kevin’s feet just so he could fall back asleep and feel comfortable. It definitely presents its challenges. I do think by the time Kevin took the court for the final, I don’t think he was unfit to compete. I think he did recover enough to play in the final. Obviously he played a really good third set, he almost took the third set, he had set point so, I think in general he recovered fine but it was a really physical match. There’s still things I’m sure his body is doing to recover from such a long match but I think it presents its challenges but these guys also work really hard, they know that that’s a possibility especially a guy with a good serve like Kevin, he knows he can get into these long situations and I think he’s prepared for that and he trains for that, he’s fit for that too.
ProTennisFan: In his next event I was looking at the doubles draw in Toronto and everyone was buzzing at the fact that we had Kevin teaming-up with Novak Djokovic. Those guys were just fierce competitors in the Wimbledon final, then they’re playing together, tell me, how did that partnership come to be?
Kelsey Anderson: I was really excited for Kevin and Novak to be playing together, they’ve played each other a ton of times as opponents, but they had never played doubles together. I believe they were talking about player council matters, Novak is actually the President of the player council and Kevin is the Vice President and I think in their conversations Kevin was like – “Hey are you playing doubles in Toronto?” and they decided to play together. So it was really exciting, it was a great show of sportsmanship as well considering they were just competitors in such a big moment in tennis in the Wimbledon final to then both play together in their next event, I think it’s a really good show of sportsmanship from both of them.
ProTennisFan: I don’t want to make this all about Kevin of course because you have such a visible and important role that you’re playing as well. It’s safe to say that you’re more than just Kevin’s wife in terms of what you do week in and week out. How would you define the part that you play on tour? I know on your Twitter it says “support team chairperson” – how would you define what it is you do each week?
Kelsey Anderson: Yeah I think that was a joke that one of Kevin’s old physiotherapists made up – he called me the support team chairperson and it’s stuck. But there are a lot of little things that I do for Kevin on a daily basis, whether it’s making sure he’s eating at the right times and going out and getting food for him or organizing fun activities, organizing meetings with his mental coach, I try to stay on top of things and make sure that all he has to do is worry about tennis. And then if and of an event, in case he forgets something I’m usually the one running around at the last second trying to sort things out. I think it’s definitely helpful for Kevin to have a second hand person there, kind of taking the slack off him a little bit. I think on a larger scale, things that I do for Kevin – definitely being like a spring board for him to talk about ideas, and things not just about tennis specifically but about life in general, I think it’s just really valuable that you can connect with when you’re going through this tour because it can be lonely if you don’t have that. It’s a really mental sport as everybody knows and it can bring some dark times as well as obviously really exuberant times. So I think just having somebody there to experience that with you and kind of share in those moments is really important. And it’s something I think with a spouse or a partner that you maybe don’t get from a coach or a physiotherapist – obviously most players nowadays travel with a coach and I think sometimes the coach does play that role if they don’t have a partner with them, but I think it’s a special void that you can fill on a team when you’re able to do that.
ProTennisFan: You’re both so well known for your sportsmanship that you display, the positive comments that you guys make both in victory and defeat, obviously very active on social media, and again in such a positive way which is refreshing these days because there is a lot of negativity out there, I would say most pros don’t go to such lengths. Why is it important for you guys to be such sportsmanlike people?
Kelsey Anderson: Thank you – first of all for saying that, that’s a really nice compliment. That’s a good question, I don’t know, I obviously grew up playing golf and sportsmanship and integrity is a really big value of that game as well. Obviously tennis is known to be a gentlemen’s sport I think when you grow up playing a game where it’s expected of you sometimes it becomes ingrained. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a conscious effort that either of us are trying to do anything so that’s very nice that’s something that maybe we’re recognized for, that’s really wonderful to hear. I did have tons of people telling me after the long match with John Isner at Wimbledon that said it’s the best, most gracious post-match interview that they’d ever seen and I’d actually missed it because I was on court and all the Wimbledon interviews are done off court – they don’t do any press or interviewing on court like most tournaments do. So I didn’t see it live and luckily some of my friends on twitter sent it to me so I was able to see it. It’s really nice. In general I would say in tennis a lot of people are really gracious and it rubs off on you. It’s a really nice group of guys out here on the ATP Tour and I think they all have a lot of respect for each other and so it’s easy to be gracious, it’s easy to have sportsmanship when it’s like that.
ProTennisFan: In other sports, team sports especially, there is often a tight knit community of the player’s wives and partners. I’m wondering in the tennis world because it’s an individual sport, do you have a similar group where you get to connect with as you go stop to stop along the tour?
Kelsey Anderson: Yes actually, that’s a very good question. We just in the last year or so, some of the French girls have led a little bit of an initiative to have activities and groups where we get together sometimes at the bigger stops like at the Grand Slams and have a little girls night or girls day where we can get to know each other. Because obviously we all know each other on a superficial level cause we’re seeing each other around week in and week out in the player’s lounge and on the match court but I think to be able to get to know each other more personally has been really nice over the last little while and that’s something that we’re trying to do. I’m going to try to plan something for New York City when everybody’s there for the Open so, that’s in the works – to be continued. But you can look for that on all of our social media, I’m sure we’ll post about it.
ProTennisFan: My last question for you, and although retirement is still clearly a ways off - especially with all these guys in their 30s who are now playing as if they’re in their 20s – what do you guys see for the future when you’re no longer going tournament to tournament?
Kelsey Anderson: I have not given that too much thought, but just off the cuff, I would love to see Kevin stay involved in tennis in some capacity. Obviously it’s the thing in Kevin’s life that he’s most passionate about so I would love to see him remain involved. I don’t know what vehicle that will take whether, I know a lot of players get into coaching when they’re done, some players get into commentary, some players get involved with their Federations. I’m really not sure which path will be the correct one for Kevin. Hopefully after he’s done playing and when he does finally make the decision to hang-up his racquet, he’ll have a little bit of time to reflect on that and won’t feel pressured to rush back into something straight away, but you’ll see because, a lot of guys they say they are so finished with the tour, they can’t wait to just be at home for a while and then they’re back at it in like a year or so I think people they do miss it. So, we’ll see what happens, obviously Kevin and I both really love this life and this lifestyle so I’m open to whatever the future brings.