South Coast link to Rafa Nadal, Kevin Anderson and the photo from 19 years ago

A photo taken by Jacques Sellschop of Marina Beach has been shared around the world.

SOUTH African tennis fans may have been disappointed that Kevin Anderson did not win the US Open final against Rafa Nadal of Spain last Sunday.

But to be fair, he did really well to get there and Nadal, well … he’s been on fire this year, making a superb return after injury.

It may not be that well known, but Anderson and Nadal are the same age (31), and met years ago.

In fact Anderson is 16 days older than Nadal.

There’s a photograph circulating around the world of them, taken at the Nike World Junior tournament in Stuttgart, Germany in 1998, when they were both 12.

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Interestingly, it was taken by Marina Beach resident, Jacques Sellschop.

Many South Coasters have seen Jacques’s wonderful photographs and creative skills.

In 1998, Jacques was the director of International Junior Tennis for South Africa.

He went with Kevin to the Nike World Junior tournament in Stuttgart several days before the event started to get him familiar with the court surface.

“Kevin and Rafael practised every day while Uncle Tony and I watched,” said Jacques.

They would later meet in the final, like they did at Flushing Meadow, 19 years after that match.

The image, which Jacques took at the time, apparently appeared on CNN yesterday.

“It’s amazing how, at the time of taking a pre-digital little old snapshot of two kids, one’s mind never imagines that years later it will travel around the worth in the ether,” said Jacques.

“Kevin was such a polite, polished, well-mannered boy, while the coherence, eloquence, humility and ease with which he speaks in public makes one want to wave the national flag vigorously.”

There’s another local angle, with Kevin’s parents Mike and Barbara owning a holiday home in Southbroom.

Kevin has been spotted in the past practising on local courts, and working out in the gyms.

Judging from the photo, it appears Kevin had not started growing yet. He now stands at 2.03m while Rafa is ‘only’ 1.85m.

What chance of the two meeting again at the Australian Open in January? One can hope…

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