Defending champion Kerber wary of Serena

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, July 2, 2019
Adjust font size:
File photo of Angelique Kerber.

There are seven Grand Slam winners in defending champion Angelique Kerber's quarter of the draw at Wimbledon this year, but the German said she is only conscious of one particular opponent: Serena Williams.

Fifth-seeded Kerber kicks off her campaign against fellow German Tatjana Maria on Tuesday, but could potentially face three former champions in Williams, Garbine Muguruza and Maria Sharapova if she goes deep into the tournament.

Kerber won her third career major at the All England Club last year to add to her triumphs at the 2016 Australian and US Opens.

Williams was her victim in the 2018 final as she avenged her loss to the 23-time major winner in the final two years earlier.

"I don't know everyone who is in my draw, I just know Serena is there. Heard it all the time already," the 31-year-old Kerber said on Sunday.

"Serena is one of the best players in the world. She's a champion. To see how she is still competing and trying to coming back, trying to play her best tennis, she's still one of the toughest opponents to beat.

"With her experience, how she tries to play always her best tennis, it's a big challenge. Of course, young players are coming, but for me she is still one of the best."

Kerber will have plenty of other challenges before she even contemplates facing seven-time champion Williams, who she can't meet before the last 16.

Among potential third-round opponents are five-time major winner Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion, and 2011 US Open winner Sam Stosur.

Also in her section are new world No 1 and French Open winner Ashleigh Barty, 2017 Wimbledon champion Muguruza as well as 2004 US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

"I'm feeling good," Kerber added. "That was the goal, to have a lot of matches, especially after Paris, coming to the grasscourt season to feel the grass again.

"I played good matches against good opponents. I got my rhythm back, the match rhythm. It's important for me to have the confidence when I play the matches."

It's enough to put even an experienced player such as Kerber under pressure, especially when it comes after a roller coaster career at the Slams which has often seen her flatter to deceive when defending a title.

Her title defense at the Australian Open in 2017 ended in the fourth round while her attempt to defend the US Open crown later that year was over in a flash as Naomi Osaka applied the knockout blow in the first round.

At Roland Garros this year, Kerber's hopes of completing the career grand slam were also dashed at the first hurdle when she fell to Russian teenager Anastasia Potapova.

Happily for the German, she has not lost in the first round at Wimbledon since 2011.

"Wimbledon is more like mentally, also you have the experience of playing a lot of matches on grass, which is completely different to the other surfaces," said Kerber, who made the final in Eastbourne on Saturday, losing to Karolina Pliskova.

"Here you feel a completely different energy. When you come here, you have pressure, the nerves are much higher than usual."

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from