LONDON (Reuters) - South African powerhouse Kevin Anderson leapt to the defense of big servers in the men’s game on Thursday after American Madison Keys accused the ace machines of being boring to watch.
Keys, who like Anderson reached the U.S. Open final last year, was probably not paying much attention as the men’s eighth seed slammed down 34 aces on his way to a second-round victory over Italian Andreas Seppi.
She might not have been too impressed either with the 64 aces compatriot John Isner fired down during his five-set win against Ruben Bemelmans or the 19 Nick Kyrgios served on his way to beating Dutchman Robin Haase.
With the weather remaining warm the big servers are getting plenty of bang for their buck on the lawns with a total of 2,146 aces already served in the men’s tournament before the conclusion of the second round.
Anderson says big serving always was and always will be an integral part of the men’s game.
“If you look at the days of (Pete) Sampras, (Richard) Krajicek, (Goran) Ivanisevic, I think they were almost more dominant on serves in terms of less rallies,” Anderson told reporters. “I don’t think anybody was complaining with the quality of men’s tennis during the ‘90s.
“Definitely the men’s side, service dominates the game. It’s one of the primary shots. But at the same time, if you look at some of the best — in terms of some of the results over the last couple years, you know, guys return very well.”
Anderson has worked hard on his baseline game which now stacks up well against the best players.
He says with the slowing down of the Wimbledon grasscourts in recent years it was no longer enough to rely on a single weapon such as a thunderous serve.
“I feel like it’s very exciting. There is a lot of people watching men’s tennis right now,” Anderson said.
“I would say I think people enjoy seeing different people playing. I think some of the taller guys, if you look at somebody like (Marin) Cilic, (Juan Martin) Del Potro, myself, I feel like we often exchange a lot of baseline exchanges.
“Cilic I’d say he’s a great server but he’s very consistent and good from the back. I put myself in that same category.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Clare Fallon