Kerber: Road to the top began in Brisbane

Angelique Kerber said she would be under more pressure this year but was not letting it get to her.
Angelique Kerber said she would be under more pressure this year but was not letting it get to her.PHOTO: REUTERS

BRISBANE • Germany's Angelique Kerber said yesterday she was enjoying the pressure of being the world's top-ranked tennis player as she prepares to get her 2017 season under way.

Speaking ahead of the Brisbane International, she conceded she would be under more pressure this year but was not letting it get to her.

"I think it will be a completely different year than 2016," she said. "There are a lot of challenges that I have now, and I think I'm ready."

She added that she was initially surprised at the attention she had received since reaching the summit last September.

"The biggest thing was that I have so many things to do," she said. "It was a really big thing here, and in Germany, and everywhere, so that surprised me a lot. I'm actually just trying to enjoy it - I'm still enjoying it."

She had a breakthrough 2016, winning the Australian and US Open titles en route to becoming world No. 1. But asked when her run to the top began, Kerber pointed to the first round in Brisbane last year, when she rallied to beat Italy's Camila Giorgi 5-7, 6-3, 6-0.

"Starting here with my first round where I played on court one, I think, and I lost the first set," she said. "Then we had a rain delay and I came back after losing the first set and I won that match.

"So this was the start of my journey in 2016, here in Australia, because then I played every single round better and better...

"I went to Melbourne with a lot of confidence."

The 28-year-old has been given a bye into the second round this campaign, where she will play either Australian wildcard Ashleigh Barty or Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2017, with the headline 'Kerber: Road to the top began in Brisbane'. Print Edition | Subscribe