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By Andrew Jones | Monday, February 12, 2018

 
Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson shot down suggestions stubborness caused his split with former coach Neville Godwin, who now coaches Hyeon Chung.

Photo credit: US Open Facebook

NEW YORK—ATP stalwart Kevin Anderson rejected the notion that he was too “stubborn” for former coach Neville Godwin Sunday afternoon, ahead of his first tournament since the Australian Open.

At the press conference for this week’s inaugural New York Open on Long Island, Anderson pushed back on the words uttered by Chris Fowler at the year’s first Grand Slam about the South African No. 1’s break with Godwin.

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The ESPN commentator stated that Anderson’s split with his fellow countryman Godwin was due in part to the big server being resistant to change.

Fowler not only mentioned it during the Australian Open quarterfinal of Godwin’s new coached player Hyeon Chung against Tennys Sandgren, but also during Chung’s semifinal loss to Roger Federer.




“Neville is really enjoying working with Chung, totally different deal than Kevin Anderson, a veteran know to be stubborn, set in his ways," Fowler said. “And Chung is so open, kind of like a blank canvas to work with a coach. Every coach would rather work with a player who won’t argue with you at every point.”

Anderson categorically denied any problems between him and Godwin, feeling rather perplexed to the narrative of him being difficult to work that Fowler candidly discussed on air.




“I personally don’t understand the comments from Chris Fowler,” Anderson said. “I don’t know where they really came from? I don’t feel like I am like that at all. I definitely say at times, ‘I’m tough to work with.’ I question things a lot. I’m very involved in the process. And I think it comes from me pushing myself. And I push others around me to succeed. And I bet my heart that Neville would say the same thing.”

Working with Godwin, Anderson made history as the first South African man in the Open Era to reach the US Open final last September. 

Anderson's charge to his first major final was remarkable given he thought he would need hip surgery in the offseason, missed the 2017 Australian Open while undergoing rehab and saw his ranking drop to No. 80. Anderson said he had a strong relationship with Godwin. 

“We had a great relationship,” Anderson continued about his bond with Godwin. “We got on incredibly well off the court. We spent four years together, which went very well. We got on incredibly well off the court. Very few people say with the same coach for four years, that’s the type of relationship we had.”

Anderson’s wife, Kelsey, took the Twitter instantly to slam Fowler when those comments were made two weeks ago. Fowler defended his comments, saying he mentioned how productive and successful the 2017 US Open runner up’s partnership with Goodwin was.

The current world No. 11 discussed how solid his time has been so far with his new coach Brad Stine in 2018.

“So far it’s been going great,” Anderson said. “We’ve spent the last two weeks with me in Florida, which I think was the first sort of two weeks where we can get into a few things.”

“When a new coach comes into a new team, they are’t going to come gun blazing and try to take over, so it was a bit of a learning experience for him. We are looking forward to the next few weeks.”

Andrew Jones is a Brooklyn-based tennis writer covering the New York Open for Tennis Now. Please follow Andrew on Twitter.

 

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