Twice A Stuttgart Champion, Kerber Knows She Can Still Compete With The Best

Angelique Kerber (photo: Porsche Tennis Grand Prix)

STUTTGART/WASHINGTON, April 20, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

Angelique Kerber has won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix twice. So, coming back to Stuttgart for the 45th edition of the European clay opener this year is something the German star didn’t think twice about when mapping out her 2022 schedule.

On the eve of the unseeded Kerber’s first-round match against World No. 6 Anett Kontaveit of Estonia on Wednesday, the World No. 17 from Bremen shared her thoughts with reporters during a Media Day session.

“It’s nice to be back here,” said Kerber, who is making her 13th Stuttgart appearance. “Especially knowing that we can play in front of an audience again. I’m really looking forward to the tournament where the organizers are doing such a great job. All the players are always happy to come to Stuttgart.”

Kerber, who won back-to-back titles in 2015 and 2016 inside Porsche Arena, admits the Porsche Grand Prix is a very special tournament for her.

“After all, I’ve won twice her and played a lot of great matches,” Kerber said. “I always like to come back and I look forward to this special week all year round. Especially because we are allowed to play in front of the home crowd. You train every day for that atmosphere, that goosebumps down there on the court.”

Because Kerber is unseeded in this year’s 28-draw event, it means having to face a tough opponent in the first round. This year, Kerber (2-6 in all competitions) was drawn to face the fifth-seeded Kontaveit, whom has beaten the German four times in their previous six meetings.

“The draw could always be worse or better,” Kerber realizes. “But I think that it often doesn’t say much. But, of course, I know it won’t be an easy first round because I’ve lost to her the last few times. I have to play my best tennis right from the start and hope for a good atmosphere in the arena.”

And what does Kerber thing about this year’s field of participants at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix? “Unbelievable,” she said. “Every player enjoys coming here, which is where there are no easy opponents. That’s why you have to be ready from the start and play your best tennis.

“Iga Swiatek has played very consistent this year so far and won some top tournaments,” Kerber added. “She works hard and is not undeservedly the new No 1 in the world. I’m curious to see how she will deal with the pressure and what will happen next.”

Finally, Kerber was asked what continues to motivate her as one of the elders of the women’s tour at age 34. She said: “I still have a great passion for the sport because I know I can still compete with the best in the world. In addition, I am fit and healthy. And as long as it stays that way, I’ll keep playing.”