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Rising Anisimova – “I’m just here for the journey”

20-year-old American Amanda Anisimova is fulfilling her promise is enjoying her first big Wimbledon moment.

Amanda Anisimova Wimbledon 2022 Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 2, 2022 Amanda Anisimova of the U.S. celebrates winning her third round match against Coco Gauff of the U.S. || AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Amanda Anisimova has been through a fair bit of turbulence in her young career, but the breathtaking tennis that the American plays is once again front and center this year, where the 20-year-old has just taken out Coco Gauff to reach Wimbledon’s round of 16 for the first time.

It was an impressive Centre Court debut for the No 20 seed, especially given the fact that she entered the tournament with just one Wimbledon win to her name. Gauff, meanwhile has established herself at SW19 in the recent past, reaching the second week on her first two appearances.

On top of that the played her first major final earlier this month at Roland-Garros to solidify her status as the young American woman to watch.

But Anisimova stole the spotlight on Saturday with a courageous performance in swirling conditions on Centre Court. After Anisimova dropped the opening set it was she who took the play to Gauff, producing 15 winners in the final two sets against just four for Gauff.

“It was extremely special to get to play on Centre Court for the first time in my life,” Anisimova said. “I was trying to soak in every moment that I had.”

Unexpected, after a difficult 2021 (and 2019 and 2020)

It is no secret that Anisimova, a truly breathtaking if inconsistent talent, has struggled to find her footing on tour over the last few seasons – and it’s understandable. She lost her father and coach Konstantin while in the midst of her breakout season as a pro, in 2019.

He suffered a heart attack at the age of 52.

Anisimova was just 17 at the time, and riding high after reaching the semi-finals at Roland-Garros.

Learning to cope with the loss emotionally, and working through a myriad of physical issues on tour have not been easy. In 2021 she dropped out of the top-80 and went just 1-3 at the Slams, but in 2022, Anisimova has surfaced as a top talent once again.

“Especially after last year, I wouldn’t have pictured myself in this position just coming off of so many losses last year,” she said, after improving her record to 28-9 on the year. “Having this moment, it just means a lot to me.”

Consistency the key

She says she believes in her ability as a top player, but just needs to find more consistency at this stage of her career. Check the records and it’s easy to see that she has been doing that in 2022 – Anisimova has reached the round of 16 in all three Grand Slams she has played.

“I think that I can play very high-quality tennis and put up a good fight against anybody,” she said on Saturday. “At the end of the day it’s about the consistency and how well you do at each tournament. It’s still something that I’m working on. Just getting far into tournaments – I had a couple quarterfinals this year where I think I could have gone past it.

“I just try to take the experience. I’m just here for the journey so I’m building off of that.”

Wimbledon 2022 Anisimova
Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 2, 2022 Amanda Anisimova of the U.S. reacts after winning her third round match against Coco Gauff of the U.S. AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Gauff – she can go to the final

After her mixed doubles loss on Saturday Coco Gauff told reporters to look out for Amanda Anisimova next week at Wimbledon.

“She’s not an easy player to play, especially on this surface,” Gauff said. “I think grass, she can do a lot of damage on. She’s obviously good on clay. But I think grass is a good surface for her, especially the way she hits the ball, it’s pretty flat. It’s tough. Today was kind of windy so it was tough to time the ball for me.

“I think she has got a good shot of pretty much going all the way to the final. If she plays like she did those last two sets against me, I think that’s some top-notch tennis right there.”

The key to facing Tan – go aggressive

Anisimova will face 115th-ranked Harmony Tan in the round of 16. The American delivered a straight-set lashing to the Frenchwoman at Roland-Garros in 2019, 6-3, 6-1, and she knows the key to repeating the victory will be sticking to her aggressive tactics.

“I’ll look at some of her recent matches,” Anisimova said of the 24-year-old. “It was a while ago that I played her. I haven’t really seen her play very recently. I’ll just look.

“It’s more important on how I’m playing. That’s what I try to focus on, what I’m doing, just kind of sticking to my aggressive game style.”

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