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Retirement 'few years away', says South Africa's Anderson

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Paris (AFP)

Kevin Anderson may be in the twilight of a career which has seen him reach two Grand Slam finals and fight a lengthy battle with a succession of injuries but the big South African has no intention of calling it quits.

The 34-year-old, who tackles Russia's Andrey Rublev for a place in the Roland Garros last 16 on Saturday, underwent surgery on his right knee in September last year and again in February.

His absence from the tour from Wimbledon in 2019 until January saw his ranking slump to 147 from a career high of five just two years ago.

However, having won matches on clay for the first time since Roland Garros in 2018, Anderson has been rejuvenated in Paris.

"There's still a Grand Slam that I have not won. I've been in a couple finals. That's probably my biggest motivating factor," he said.

"We have Masters Series, there's a lot I can do there, as well. In terms of goal setting and achievements, there's no shortage.

"It's what I love doing. It's not always easy, but I think that's one of the big motivating factors for me as well, just this opportunity to keep pushing myself, figuring things out, improving."

Anderson has reached the last 16 in Paris on four occasions although he made first round exits on clay in Rome and Hamburg in the build-up to this year's Roland Garros.

His determination to fight his way back was demonstrated in the second round with a 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 win over Serb 22nd seed Dusan Lajovic.

The challenge against 22-year-old Rublev will be tougher with the Russian having arrived in Paris on the back of a title run at Hamburg, his third trophy of a truncated season.

But win or lose Anderson, runner-up at the US Open in 2017 and Wimbledon in 2018, says retirement is a long way off.

"Even though I've had all this time, you think maybe this would have been a time to sort of assess some options. But I think part of it is just my mind is not there yet.

"It's fully focused on my career. That day will eventually come, but hopefully it's still quite a few years away."

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