South African tennis player Kevin Anderson on Saturday made his return to competitive action after nearly six months out with a knee injury.
The 33-year-old had announced in mid-December that he would return to the court this month, having last played in July when he suffered a shock third-round loss at Wimbledon to Argentine Guido Pella.
Anderson’s return saw him play against Novak Djokovic in the ATP Cup and he took the world number two the distance before succumbing to a 7-6, 7-6 defeat at the Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane.
Anderson’s performance saw him fire 17 aces and save 88% of break points faced giving optimism that he may be back to his best despite the lengthy layoff.
“Tough one tonight but so happy to be back. It’s been a while. Thanks, everyone for your messages. Your support for Team South Africa means a lot,” Anderson wrote on Twitter after the match.
Team Serbia ended up defeating Team South Africa 3-0 after Dusan Lajovic also secured a three-set win over Lloyd Harris and Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse lost their doubles match.
Team South Africa next plays Team Chile with Anderson, now ranked 147th in the world, playing Christian Garin on Monday in South Africa’s second tie of the tournament.
Anderson is a two-time Grand Slam finalist and was recently honoured with the 2019 Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award for his efforts off the court to support a number of charitable causes.