Angelique Kerber is ready for more success at the tennis majors now that she has come to terms with all aspects of her Australian Open title in January.
The 28-year-old had a slight dip in form after famously beating world number one Serena Williams in Melbourne but is back on track now on the court and coping well with the growing obligations off it.
Kerber arrived Monday from a successful Fed Cup relegation tie in Romania for the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart where she is the title holder and ready to kickstart her clay court season highlighted by the French Open next month.
“I am happy to be back on track. I am ready for the second one,” she told reporters. “Since last year I know I can do well on clay. I hope for one of the best clay-court seasons.”
Kerber’s brief dip in form came right after Melbourne when she went out in her first matches in Doha and Indian Wells. But she bounced back instantly with semi-final berths in Miami and Charleston, and her two Fed Cups wins add to her confidence.
“I had just two bad tournaments. It was a new situation for me and I had to settle into it,” she said. “There are more duties, its a different attention but I always dreamt of it. It is not getting on my nerves …. I am still the same.”
Stuttgart is the biggest tournament in Germany and the second-seeded Kerber is happy to be reunited with friends and family as she bids for success as in 2015.
Led by number two Agnieszka Radwanska the tournament boasts six top 10 players, and Kerber is the main draw card for organizers, taking over the currently suspended Maria Sharapova who won in 2013 and 2014 before falling to Kerber last year.
“I want to play at my best and repeat my title,” she said, hoping for attention on and off the court.
“I am really happy about it (the hype). It is good for me and for German tennis. It is good to see it grow again after Boris (Becker) and Steffi (Graf). I know how to handle it.”
The four top seeds have a bye into the second round, and Kerber will open against Fed Cup team-mate Annika Beck or a qualifier.
On a slow first day of action the German fans had a first reason to cheer when Anna-Lena Friedsam beat Britain’s Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-3.