Kerber at Wimbledon: “I know, I can still do it”

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Kerber at Wimbledon: “I know, I can still do it”

F.There are no trophies for the best games in a tournament, but they are good for the soul and for your self-confidence anyway. Such a game was those 199 minutes in which Angelique Kerber and a Spaniard named Sara Sorribes Tormo celebrated a festival of perseverance, passion and courage, celebrated on Court No. 2, at the end of the audience rewarded with a standing ovation. The Spaniard surprised with a great performance anyway, but was Angelique Kerber on the other side, who had not won a single game at three Grand Slam tournaments before the start of the championships? “I know I can still do it,” she said afterwards.

Suddenly things seem to be possible again, behind which there had been big question marks for a while. And one is certainly not wrong to suspect everything that happened the week before in the champagne air and around the mineral springs of Bad Homburg behind this exciting performance at Wimbledon. At the new tournament – small but nice – Angelique Kerber not only won her first title since her Wimbledon victory in 2018, things also came together in a way that she could not have wished for better.

Involved in the tournament as its ambassador and future boss, she experienced how her commitment was praised and valued by everyone; something like that can work wonders. She had less time than usual in a tournament to attend to her game, to think about it and, as so often, to ponder. And maybe that’s why she trusted her instincts again and won five games in a row, two of them in one day.

Confidence is back

Go with the flow. So is it possible that the events on the Wimbledon lawn would not have happened without the run-up to their tournament in Bad Homburg? Already possible, she says. “It showed me that I can win matches again, regardless of whether it is a small or a larger tournament. That gave me back my confidence, and with that confidence I went to Wimbledon. “

But Angelique Kerber also feels more comfortable because spectators can now sit in the stands again. That was already the case in Bad Homburg in smaller numbers, and now at Wimbledon it is almost like the old days. The feeling of solidarity that had grown in the more than three hours of playing with the famous Spaniard also carried both of them in moments when exhaustion crept into the chest and legs. She has missed this support in the past few months, says Angelique Kerber. “That’s what I’ve always wanted, and it gives me that last kick, this passion and the fun of tennis.”

Selfie on the Center Court: Angelique Kerber, Germany’s best tennis lady, poses with the trophy of the Bad Homburg Open.
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Image: dpa

And now there is a scenario where, with freshly blossomed passion and renewed confidence in one’s own abilities, things are possible that hardly anyone could imagine a few weeks ago. The ranks of seeded players at a Grand Slam tournament have seldom thinned as quickly as this time at Wimbledon. Naomi Osaka (depression) and Simona Halep (injury) were absent from the start, then Elina Switolina (number 3 on the seeding list), Sofia Kenin (4), Bianca Andreescu (5), Serena Williams (injured / 6) said goodbye within a few days , Petra Kvitova (10), Viktoria Asarenka (12) and Maria Sakkari (15).

Favorite already?

After the draw it looked as if Angelique Kerber might play against Serena Williams in round three, but after the American’s farewell, she will meet Aliaksandra Sasnowitsch (Belarus) this Saturday, currently number 100 in the world rankings. Is that an easier lot than playing against Serena Williams, or is it a more difficult lot because she is less able to adjust to the game and the adrenaline may not flow at the same pace at the beginning?

After a slight hesitation, Angelique Kerber replied: “Oh, this won’t be an easier match. Whoever is in the third round has won two matches and deserves to be there. It all starts again from scratch. ”And she is not available for further considerations for the coming week anyway. Every game is just another round, every subsequent round is a win, and that’s where it will stay. “I won’t let myself get out of my concept and my routine.”

In addition, there is also a counter-story to the now missing elite group of sedentary competitors. Because those players who have been most successful this year are all still there, led by number one, Ashleigh Barty from Australia, and the two, Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus). And who, after Sara Sorribes Tormo’s appearance at the fireworks against Angelique Kerber, did not understand that the greatest danger sometimes does not come from the most famous opponents, should take a closer look. The Spaniard is 50th in the world rankings and played like an opponent from the top ten.