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January 28, 2016

Angelique Kerber

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

A. KERBER/J. Konta

7-5, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. An hour after the match, how does it feel to be in a slam final?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It feels good. No, I mean, it feels really good. It was a tough match today because also mentally I played a very good match against Vika yesterday, and I knew today I must go out there and play again good, be aggressive. I knew also that she beat a lot of good players this two weeks and it will be not easy.

But I handle it and I handle also my nerves actually in the beginning of the match. It feels really good to be for my first time in the final.

Q. Were nerves a big part of that?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yes, I think the nerves, yeah, that was actually the big challenge for me today. In Singapore I was not able to, yeah, control my nerves against Safarova.

After this match I told myself that I will learn from that match and hope this will never come again.

Also today I was trying, you know, to being focused and being quiet and just thinking about the match, about every single point. It works very good, so I'm happy about that, how I was handle that.

Q. How do you learn from like the defeat against Safarova? What do you do to make sure you don't do that again?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, I was trying -- because in this match I heard a lot around when I walk on court that I must win just one set and everything, but I learned that I was just going out, trying not thinking about winning a set, winning the match, or winning a game, whatever, just focusing on every single point.

It doesn't matter if it's the final or the semis, a group match or whatever. Just going out and trying to play my best and not thinking too much what can happen when I win or what can happen when I'm losing. This is that what I was learning from this match. I think that was a big thing that I learn for my future.

Q. Do you think you will be more nervous in the final or less nervous than you were today?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I can tell you this after the final (laughter). I don't know yet. But I think it will be for sure better, you know, because I have nothing to lose against Serena, of course.

But at the other point, I can lose the match, you know. Because I will go out there, try to enjoy my first final, try to beat Serena, of course, as well. I must play my best tennis to have a chance. I saw the match today against Aga; she was playing unbelievable good.

But I think the nerves will be getting better when I'm getting out there in the finals.

Q. You've been in the top 10 for a long time. What does it mean to finally get into this next step, a Grand Slam final?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I mean, of course, that's a special moment, a special feeling to get there right now, to being in the final. I mean, I'm four years in the top 10. I was not playing so good last year in the big tournaments.

Now, yeah, that was my focus, to play better in the bigger one. Now I'm in the finals here. So that means, of course, a lot. I had great two weeks here with ups and downs, with the first match point down playing against a German. So a lot of things.

But great experience, great two weeks. At the end I'm in the final, so I'm really looking forward.

Q. How happy are you to have all that experience under your belt? Four years in the top 10s, lots of ups and downs in your career. Even though it is your first Grand Slam final, do you feel it's going to give you a little bit of calm out there on the court?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think so. Yeah, I had a lot of ups; I had a lot of downs. I think the final cames to the right moment. I think I'm ready for it because I have a lot of experience on the last few years. I beat top players. I am a top player right now.

So, you know, the work pays off, I think. I was working very hard in the last few years. Here I am. I'm in the final for my first time. I will for sure trying to enjoy it.

Q. What was it like when that last point was over? What did it feel like on court?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Actually, I don't know. I mean, that was like, Okay, I won the match and I'm in the finals. I had so many things on my mind, you know. I was looking to my box. They are like standing there and happy, like I was.

It was a really, really special moment for me.

Q. Have you ever had a feeling like that before on the court?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Not like this, no. Not like this.

Q. You just said you had a lot of ups and a lot of downs. Talk about those throughout your career.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Downs I had of course like a lot of years ago where I was, like, playing tournaments. I was 100 in the world and I lost 11 times I think in the first round.

Then I came to New York; I get to the semifinals. So that was the up. Actually new career where it starts, where I was then after four years in the top 10.

There was one year where I reach four finals. I lost all four.

We had a lot of, yeah, tough moments then. I have also tough matches where I was up and I was losing the matches. The ups last year where I won four finals. Also reaching Istanbul, reaching Singapore. Then the match against Safarova. That was a really down moment for me.

Then I had a great off-season where I was, you know, trying to follow my dreams, follow my work. My team was pushing me a lot. Now I'm here. Now I have an up again.

Q. Seems like you have so many three-set matches, so close. Why is that?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I don't know why. I think against me, everybody's playing good tennis. I don't know.

But it's good, you know. I have a lot of experience with three-set matches, with close matches. That gives me of course also confidence when you win matches like this. Then when you win the match in two sets, that feels better because it's easier.

My first match here, I mean, I was playing three hours. When I won my second round in two sets, it was feeling a little bit easier for my body and for me.

Q. When you wrote that email to Steffi asking if she would work with you, did you expect her to say yes?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I never wrote her an email like this.

Q. I thought you sent her an email and that's how you ended up in Las Vegas working with her.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No. I never wrote her an email like this.

Q. How did she help you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, I was like last year there was the adidas camp. I was losing first round at Indian Wells, so I went then after straight to Las Vegas and she was there.

Yeah, I was few days practicing with my team. She was on court, as well. I was hitting with her. Yeah, I was talking with her of course a lot. She was just telling me that I'm on a good way and trying to, yeah, giving me positive comments that I should believe in myself and everything is good. So that was actually how it was with Steffi.

Q. How long did it take you hitting with her before you stopped thinking, I'm hitting with Steffi Graf?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know of course it's always a great feeling to hit with Steffi. She is still in shape and she is hitting very hard and moving still like she was moving few years ago.

But it was just fun, you know. I was really focusing. The intensity was very high.

Q. Will you reach out to her before Saturday night?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think she wrote me, but I was not able to check it right now. I just saw that. I think she sent me a text message, but I don't know what she wrote me yet. I can tell you in few minutes.

I think she heard what I told on the center court.

Q. What is it about her that makes her so good to deal with and work with?

Q. With Steffi.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, actually I'm not in touch with her. I'm actually just sometimes when I'm in Indian Wells or Miami, when you have this trip. Maybe I will go this year as well.

And then when you play Fed Cup sometimes she's writing or when you win a tournament. It's not like I'm always in touch with her. It's not like this.

Q. What do you remember about beating Serena in Cincinnati?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I remember that I was serving very well. I remember also a lot of matches against Serena, that we have great and close matches in the past.

I think and I hope that she will also have respect for me. I think I must play my best tennis to beat her, yeah, that she's maybe shaking a little bit.

Q. A lot of her opponents she's come in and had dominant records. Do you think she might get nervous playing you because you've had a little bit of success against her?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I hope so. Actually I'm hoping so. Yeah, I think she is going out there to try to win again another Grand Slam, making history. This is her goal. My goal is to maybe win my first Grand Slam.

You know, I think she will have respect. I think she will go out there and she know that she must play also good tennis to beat me. I'm feeling good. I'm healthy. I'm fit. I will try to win against her. That's for sure.

I know it will be not easy.

Q. Do past records mean anything going into the final of a major?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No. I think every match starts from zero. It's a new match. It's a new challenge. I mean, the courts, the balls, everything is the same. It's the final of a major, of course.

At the end you must play a normal match like always.

Q. Do you feel any duty to protect Steffi's record as a German?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think so. I think so. The Germans must be together (smiling).

Q. You mentioned 2011 before you broke through. At that point did you imagine you'd have the career you've had since?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, when I reached the semis in New York, 2011, everybody was telling, Okay, that was one tournament from her. Let's see how far she will get in the next few years. I think I show everybody that I'm a top player. I'm four years in the top 10. I can play good tennis.

I was playing also before good tennis, but I never take my chances. Since then I was taking my chances. I am playing good. I think, yeah, right now I don't have the pressure anymore because I show everybody, I show myself, that I can play. I'm one of the best players in the world. I think I can be proud about this.

Q. A lot of people give Patrick a lot of credit for Serena's success or her rebirth. What about Torben for you? After you worked initially, what do you credit him with? Why did you work with him together again?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, I know Torben since I was 15 or 16 years, a long time. I think he is a really positive, yeah, positive Torben, you know. He knows me and we have a lot of respect on court, but we also have a lot of fun. He know how to work with me, how to speak with me. He knows also my emotion, how I am.

I think it works really good, yeah. The work is paying off, the hard work. Also we have always fun off court, so this is also what is really important for me when I'm on tour.

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