Can former world No. 1 Angelique Kerber take back the top spot in 2024?
Nov 13, 2023
Angelique Kerber had a good reason to take time off from tennis in the summer of 2022. The former world No. 1 was pregnant and looking forward to her new role as a mother. After taking a break and giving birth to her daughter Liana in February of this year, she faces a significant challenge.
Can Kerber make it back to the top? After all, she remains one of the world's most prolific tennis players. In 2016, Kerber took the world's top spot with Grand Slam wins at the Australian Open and US Open. In 2018, she fulfilled one of her biggest dreams by winning Wimbledon. Now, she's planning a comeback.
“I definitely missed the competition. Facing the top players and playing the big matches is the reason why I want to come back to the tour,” she told Markus Rothermel in an exclusive interview with Porsche Newsroom. “My goal is to be ready for the first match when we fly to Australia right after Christmas.”
In addition to her passion on the tennis court, Kerber also happens to be a proud Porsche Brand Ambassador. Highlights from her interview follow below.
In your career, you’ve come back several times already. Is this comeback the biggest challenge?
Angelique Kerber: “This time it’s definitely a different kind of comeback. If you don’t play well, lose matches and as a consequence fall into a big hole, then you continue to practice and know how to get out of the low. These days it’s a completely different and much more difficult task. Kicking off again at the United Cup after a one-and-a-half-year break and then having your first Grand Slam two weeks later is a huge challenge.”
What motivates you to work so hard on your comeback?
Angelique Kerber: “The love for the sport is my biggest motivation. It’ll never go away. Added to that is the challenge of returning to the big tennis stage and giving it my all once again. I will face the world’s top players and show the fans my best tennis. However, I’m also realistic. It’s a long way back and I’m just at the beginning.”
Have you followed the Tour during your time off and which players have impressed you?
Angelique Kerber: “Of course, I’ve always kept up to date. Alongside players at the very top like Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka, Coco Gauff has particularly impressed me. She’s played great tournaments time and time again for a while now, but the fact she’s now already won the US Open at the age of only 19 is however a little bit of a surprise.”
You’ve gathered your tried and trusted team headed by Torben Beltz around you for your comeback. How much does it help you?
Angelique Kerber: “It gives me a big feeling of security and a certain inner peace of mind when I know there are people at my side that I can trust. It’s very important for me personally. For what is an extremely long preparation. I wanted a team around me that I’ve known for a long time and that I know will understand the new challenges that I’m facing. It’s not only the practicing. The whole daily routine has to be planned a little differently. I need people’s understanding and the full support of people I can count on all the time.”
Back to the preparations. As you don’t have to learn how to play the game, was it more of a case of getting fit?
Angelique Kerber: “Of course. Fitness was the main focus up until a short time ago. Now we’re concentrating more and more on tennis again. But fitness is the thing you lose most in the one and a half years. Getting back to trusting one’s body and listening to it, that was the biggest challenge at the start. I think so far, I’ve managed it quite well.”
Does the scheduling of your season stretch up to the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart on April?
Angelique Kerber: “Well, that’s the goal, definitely. I’d love to play in the Porsche Arena once again and am very optimistic. I missed playing the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix last year and hope I’ll be competing there again this time.”
Is there anything you’ve learned in the last [few] months?
Angelique Kerber: “You can get away with having less sleep than you think (laughs). I’ve also learned to be more patient, and to plan my daily life more efficiently to best combine career and family.”