The TSA Tuks International Tournament that starts today (30 September) is where tomorrow's champions get to finetune their skills before hopefully going on to play Grand Slam Tournaments.
That is any way how it started out for one of the world's best men's players. Way back in 2003, a lanky tall blond tennis player stepped up onto Tuks tennis courts to play an international Futures Tournament.
The 17-year old had just come off a victory in Gaberone, but at that stage, nobody took note of Kevin Anderson as he was only ranked as the 769th best player on the ATP-circuit. Many considered him to be only one of many wannabee tennis stars.
Anderson did not get to win at Tuks. In the first Futures Tournament, he lost in the final and a week later playing the second he was beaten in the semifinal. As far as the 17-year-old was concerned, it was mission accomplished. He had improved his ATP-ranking to 665.
Those who witnessed Anderson play at Tuks realised that there was something special about him, notably when he served. From a spectators perspective, it was a case of now you did see the ball, and then you did not. Some of his opponents seemingly had the same problem. Unfortunately for the teenager, his serve tended to be quite erratic.
Anderson's best quality, however, has always been his work ethic. It has been said as a joke the only reason he has a coach is so that he has someone to tell him when to stop training.
Needless to say, his serve has improved. He is currently ranked as one of the top ten best servers in international tennis. His fastest serve was timed at nearly 240km/ph.
Anderson has also gone on to become arguably South Africa's best player of all time. He has the distinction of being the South African player to be ranked amongst the top ten in the world for the longest time. Apart from Johan Kriek, and Kevin Curren he is also the only South African player to have played more than one Grand Slam singles final.
Anderson still remembers where it all started for him. That is why he is full of praise for the International Tennis Federation (IFF) and Tennis South Africa initiative to give young players the same opportunities he had.
"These tournaments are crucial in helping players transition up the international rankings. The more we can hold, the better as it exposes our local players to the playing standards of foreign players.
"Due to the current economic situation in South Africa, one of the biggest challenges facing young aspiring players is finding the means to compete internationally. Hopefully, the players competing will also get to be more inspired by their experiences.
"I want to wish all the young players competing at Tuks over the next few days the best luck. They should make the most of the moment."