Kerber doesn’t mind the extra attention

 22 Feb 2016 - 0:00

Kerber doesn’t mind the extra attention
Angelique Kerber of Germany addresses the media at the Qatar Total Open media centre in Doha yesterday.

By Rizwan Rehmat 
DOHA:  Angelique Kerber, the Australian Open champion, is still coming to terms with her new-found status as the next big thing after German tennis queen Steffi Graf.

But the 28-year-old doesn’t mind one bit being the cynosure of all eyes after her history-making win over world number one Serena Williams in the final in Melbourne.
“I don’t know if I’m the new Steffi Graf, but I’m the next German woman who won the Grand Slam after Steffi. This is something really special because Steffi is a legend. I mean she won everything. She was always my idol,” Kerber said with a smile.
“To be the next (German) player to have such a success, it’s special for me and also for German tennis,” Kerber said.
“I got a lot of text messages. My phone was exploding after the semis. After the final, I don’t know how many text messages I got, but a lot. It took me a few days to answer the messages,” Kerber said.
“After Melbourne, I had a long flight back to Germany. And when I arrived at Frankfurt and stepped out, I had a lot of cameras on my face and asking me a lot of questions,” Kerber said when asked about her welcome back home.
“For me the nicest thing was that I saw the people are happy for me and that all of Germany was like watching the final on TV because it was Saturday morning there. 
“Now a lot of more people recognize me on the streets. 
“They are coming to me. It was busy days after my win,” Kerber told reporters 
“I had so many positive emotions on me and that was an unbelievable feeling. I will never forget the last point on court in Melbourne and I will never forget the time that I won,” Kerber said ahead of her first-round match at this week’s Qatar Total Open.
Kerber said winning her maiden Grand Slam title had come ‘at the right time’.
“I think for me personally, it’s the right time that I won my first Grand Slam now because I’m four years in a row in the top-10,” kerber explained. 
“I have a lot of experience. I think it’s the best time for me to have the success or the biggest moment in my career. I hope that a lot of more good and big wins are still coming,” she added.
Kerber said she won’t target the top ranking but rather focus on improving her game.
“It’s important to focus on my tennis, on my improvement, on how I would like to play, to work hard and (to keep on) having fun,” Kerber said. 
“I am still enjoying my tennis on court,” the affable German said.
“I have experience from many years (that) I’ve played the game for. This is my goal: to keep playing great tennis, to keep having fun on and off court,” she said.
“I’m not thinking about the rankings or something like that. I will just try to go my way like I did it (at the Australian Open),” Kerber said.
Kerber said her family’s support throughout her career was key in bagging her maiden Grand Slam title last month. 
“In my career, there were up and downs and sometimes (I did ) not have belief in myself. I was like always one step to make something big and I was always falling down.
“My family and my team around me told me ‘just believe in yourself. You’re working so hard on court, just do it in the matches’.
“In Australia, after I won against Azarenka, I never beat her for six times in a row. I start to believe in myself (told myself) ‘that I worked hard and I can beat players that I never beat (before)’. 
“I had confidence because I was relaxed. I knew right now I’m feeling good on court and I’m feeling good off court. That’s change in the last few weeks in my mind,” she said.
Kerber said her ability ‘to fight’ is probably the best part about her game. “Yeah, my attitude was always to try my best and to fight until the last point, to stay quiet, because in tennis, everything can change and can happen,” Kerber said.
“And this is actually me. I am same (person) on and off the court. I’m still the same person how I was before the Australian Open.
“I think all the people and all the players saw my attitude. This is also what makes me really proud,” she said. 

The Peninsula