The world no.1 Angelique Kerber hasn’t had the best of years as the heightened expectations of being the world’s best has meant a slight downturn in results.
But the German says ‘it’s not a big deal’ as she looks to perform well in Eastbourne before the biggest Grand Slam of the year, Wimbledon.
But as Wimbledon looms, the 29-year-old feels she is ready to put the tricky year behind her and concentrate on what could be a pivotal few weeks.
At times this year, it seems the pressure of being no.1 has got to Kerber. And the 29-year-old said finding that extra motivation after reaching the no. 1 spot has been tougher than she expected.
“I think when you win some big things which you were dreaming for and practicing the whole year for and then you reach it, it’s tough to focus again and finding the new motivation,” said Kerber.
2016 was such a big year for Kerber, she won the Australian Open and then the US open and then reached the coveted spot of no.1 – but this year has been a bit of a reality check.
At the Australian Open she reached the fourth round but lost to American Coco Vandeweghe and in the French Open she didn’t do much better as she lost to Ekaterina Makarova in the first round.Embed from Getty Images
The way stars deal with adversity varies on the player and Kerber admits being in this struggling situation as no.1 is an altogether new experience. But Kerber says she is just concentrating on the process of getting back to her best before Wimbledon starts in a couple of weeks.
“I think it’s a process, I’m still playing good tennis, I just lost a few matches that I won last year and I think it’s not a big deal for me because I know I’m practicing hard and one day the hard work will pay off,” said Kerber.
Comparison’s to the great Steffi Graf is natural, but Kerber is only thinking about herself as Wimbledon looms
When women’s tennis is concerned in Germany you don’t get much bigger than Steffi Graf. The legendary Graf is one of the greatest players ever to grace the courts and with Kerber being a compatriot of Graf comparisons will naturally be drawn.
During her playing days, Graf won all the Grand Slams multiple times, including Wimbledon seven times. But the 29-year-old tries not to get drawn into the comparison between her and Graf.
“I mean she is a champion and won everything and done so many records but I’m not looking to what she did,” said Kerber.
“I’m focusing on me and what I can do and my way is completely different than Steffi,” added Kerber.
With Wimbledon around the corner, the German has a chance to win a Grand Slam that so far has evaded her. But with her form being a little hit and miss it’s hard to tell what sort of shape Kerber will arrive in at the Championships.
But, the German admits it’s still a big inspiration to play at the Championships: “I think it’s a big inspiration to play Wimbledon, because everyone knows Wimbledon around the world and I have great memories when I was playing juniors.”
Regardless of Kerber’s poor year and it has been a poor year by her lofty standards. The German is still no.1 and with the Wimbledon approaching on the horizon, the 29-year-old has to try and block out previous results as she hopes for an improved second part of the season.
Image credits – Tim Clayton & Adam Pretty