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Grateful and confident Angelique Kerber still fighting to find her best tennis: "I have it inside of me"
The French Open is the only Grand Slam where she has not gone further than the quarterfinals.
Published May 27, 2022
THE BREAK: Begu's racquet and more from Roland Garros
Germany's Angelique Kerber may be be one of the older players on the WTA Tour, but she's playing with fresh energy.
The 34-year-old three-time Grand Slam champion has only reached the quarterfinals of a major or better once since 2018, but she won the WTA event in Strasbourg coming into the French Open and is now into the third round after beating teenager Elsa Jacquemot, 6-1, 7-6 (2).
Her first-round victory against Magdelena Frech took almost two-and-a-half hours of running and competing, but that's the same way she has pulled herself back up towards the top of the sport again.
''I think you have to fight in tennis. It's the part of the game, as well,” she told press at the French Open. “Everyone can play tennis. At the end, it's just one, two points which decide matches. I have it inside of me."
Kerber entered Roland Garros with a 7-8 mark on the season, but she keeps pushing herself, and has finally begun to feel more assured.
"Yeah, last week gives me again a lot of confidence, so I just try to take it with me. But of course, you're getting older, you have to fight so much more against the young players," she said. "There are so many good players right now on tour, and it's a new generation. So I just try to be there and try to still improve my game and enjoying still my tennis."
It's more surprising that her resurgence has come on clay—the French Open is the only Grand Slam where she has not gone further than the quarterfinals.
“Everyone knows that clay is not my favorite surface. For me, it's just this year I just try to play every single match and not looking too much ahead and trying to keep it up,” Kerber said. “Of course it's not an easy tournament for me when you look back. But I'm not looking back right now, just trying to be in the moment and enjoying my win.”
And she's doing the same with her career.
“I’m thankful that I can still play, that I'm healthy, that I [am] still beating the young players, that I can be on the big stages. That's why I [am] still doing this... I'm trying to [keep] working hard and then you play for these matches when you are having the crowd, feeling the energy.
"I love this sport. I play for the sport. This is why I'm still here. I hope that I can still be a little bit there and, playing the best tennis, enjoying the moments on and off court.”