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October 22, 2016
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Angelique.
Q. Welcome back. This was really the turning point for you for this year. How special does it feel now to come back here as world No. 1? You know you're going to be the year-ending world No. 1. No pressure.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don't know if it's low, but it's of course a little bit different and it's really special. For me last year it was not the best tournament with the pressure with the one set that I had in my mind.
But it's nice to be back here. I will just try to do it better than last year. Yeah, it's of course nice to be back in the WTA Finals. This is my goal when I start the year. To coming back here right now as the top seeded it's a little bit better feeling than last year.
Q. Coming back as the world No. 1 and holder of two Grand Slam titles, do you feel there is more pressure to be more consistent on the bigger stage and bigger tournaments like this?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: For sure the pressure is a little bit bigger because I think that everybody is expecting now that I win and I can go to the semis or the finals all the time.
For me it's not like that, because we have here the best players. I know that I have to play and working hard again every single match.
So for me it's really important to go out there and focusing step by step. I know that I have to give everything and just fighting again like I played the last few months.
This will be also the way I would like to play here.
Q. In one year you win your maiden Grand Slam and world No. 1, win another slam. If you can pick one moment, which one would it be?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: This is too tough. I mean, of course this year the first special moment was in Australia when I won my first Grand Slam. This feeling I will never forget.
But after that, a lot of more following. So it was like, I don't know. It's tough to pick one.
Also with the New York, this was really special tournament for me and also in my career where everything starts in 2011.
Olympics as well. I was always dreaming to win the medal. So there are not one. I had a lot of the great moments this year.
Q. Having the sort of whirlwind season and having all these accomplishments, having the last few weeks, how much has it sunk in and have you had a chance to enjoy all that you've achieved this year?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I really try to enjoy, but of course this situation is a little bit new for me. I have much more things to do off court. My schedule is a little bit tighter than like one year ago.
I think for me it's also good that I'm in this age right now where I can really enjoy it. I had so many experience from the last few years, and I'm just trying to enjoy but still working hard. My priority is still to playing good tennis. This is what counts for me.
Q. Your last press conference here last year when you were a little bit upset about the scheduling and everything, if somebody came up to you then and said, Don't worry; in the next year you'll win two Grand Slams and when you come here you'll be world No. 1, would you have believed them?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: To be honest, I don't know. I don't think so. I mean, I remember the last press conference last year. The last one I was really upset, especially after this match against Lucie. Yeah, a lot of things change. I think like one year ago I don't know if I would able to believe this directly after the match against Safarova.
Yeah, I done it, and it's better feeling now to sitting here than one year ago. (Smiling.)
Q. You have not made it past the group stages of this event. What do you think is lacking, and how are you going to making changes to your game to do so?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think it just can be better than the last few years. I never came out from the group and I never played the semis here. This is for sure my goal.
But there are still three really tough matches that I have to play. I think I will try to take the experience from the last years and maybe take the positive things and try to do it now better.
I think it just can be better this year.
Q. Have you had a chance to go back to your academy? What's it like to work with the kids now, especially in light of the success and the hard work that went into it?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: This is really a good feeling because I really love to play with kids. Like also sharing with them my experience and thoughts and everything.
So I had the chance, and it's always nice to playing with them, to speaking with them. They have a lot of nice questions always. This is what I also maybe will do in the future, because I really would like that a lot of more people, and kids especially, taking the racquet, because the sport is really nice. I like it.
Q. Can you share with us how you regrouped both physically and mentally after this year's French Open to have such a stellar second half of the year?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think this year the French Open, it was not so easy for me, because after Australia a lot of things change. I think I had to get used to everything. That was the first Grand Slam after my biggest victory and I was not able to deal with the pressure and everything.
But I learn a lot from especially the loss in Paris. And, yeah, then in Wimbledon I did it a little bit better. I think it was really, yeah, a really time where I can grow, and I learned a lot from this time during this year.
Q. I remember many times you said what an inspiration Steffi Graf has been to you and how you met up with her in Vegas. Since you became No. 1, won the US Open, have you spoken to her at all? If so, what was the conversation like?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: She was texting me after New York that she is really proud and big congrats from here. So this was actually the only conversation, the last one.
Yeah, she just told me that, yeah, she is proud and I just have to go forward and try to enjoy now everything, because it's really special, she told.
Q. Do you ever look at the list of No. 1s and see her name and now see your name there?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I saw it, yes.
Q. What feeling did you have?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It's great feeling, because for me it's really big honor. I'm really proud I'm the next after Steffi in Germany especially. She won everything; she is a great person, a legend. It's great that I'm the next one to win as well Grand Slams and to being the world No. 1.
For me it means a lot to be the next after her.
Q. Just one more question: When you were all sitting up on the stage yesterday in your nice, smart frocks and everything, what did you think of Johanna Konta sitting nearby but couldn't be part of it? Did you think it was tough for her?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think so for sure, because I know the situation. I was not in exactly this situation, but I know how to be first alternate or last one to get in.
For sure it's not the best, I think, yeah, the best feeling. I'm sure that the WTA is also like thinking how to change this, because it's for sure not the best option.
Q. Looking back at the year, you achieved so much. How do you think you changed or your life has changed as a player, as a person? What has been really tough to overcome?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: So as a player I change a lot. In this situation that I have much more confidence right now. I know how to play the big tournaments also mentally, how to win really tough matches in tough situation, or like playing finals in big tournaments, big stages. So this change a lot as is a player.
As a person, I'm still the same player like one year ago. My daily schedule is a little bit tighter than before but I'm trying to enjoying it.
I've learned a lot to also saying sometimes no and taking care of myself. So this is what I've learned in the last few months.
Q. You talked about the pressure you faced after winning Australian Open. Interesting that Garbine also talked about the low after the high of winning the French Open. Can you tell us a bit more about what you feel after the pressures and the lows after you won your first Grand Slam?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I mean, if you win such a big tournament that was always your goal and you come back home and I think a lot of things change, a lot of more people recognize you, and the pressure in the next tournaments are not less. They're actually bigger.
You have to find the way to, yeah, try to get motivated again, to go out there on court and still practicing really hard. Because it's actually tougher than before because now everybody would like to beat you. You know that you have to give more than ever to playing after such a big success.
I think when you win for the first time you have to take the time to get used to it, the experience. It always take few months. For me took like French Open where I lost my first round, but I learned from this. You just have to thinking positive and remember that you can win such a big tournament.
Q. You talked about working with kids at your academy. Do you feel like this time around they were taking your advice a little bit extra seriously?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I hope so.
Q. In general, how do you feel people are reacting to you now as compared to earlier in your career?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think now they are taking it a little bit more serious. But this is what was always also my goal. I think now they are believing me when I'm talking to them. I hope that they will also trying to going on court and try to change also few more things.
So, yeah, it's change a little bit, but in the positive way. So I think it's a good way to speak now with the kids and showing them maybe the right way.
Q. You talked about being more aggressive this year. That's one of the keys to your game improving. Mentally being more relaxed on court and not stressing out. But getting very specific, what's the one single shot that you think has improved this year that's helped you kind of win those tight matches?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: For sure my serve. I mean, that was one shot what I was working for long, long time. It's still not perfect. I know that I can still improve it. But this is for sure the shot what I think I improved a lot in the last few months.
Q. Physically how are you feeling based off how tired you were in China?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I'm feeling better. I had a great week here. I had great practice, so my preparation was good. I'm feeling again a little bit fresher. I know that it's the last tournament before going on vacation and having few weeks off, so that feels a little bit better than I start this trip.
Q. As we know Steffi Graf is your idol. This year you win two Grand Slams and you become world No. 1. Have you ever thought about maybe you have become idol for other German teens? How do you feel about that?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It feels good because I know how is the feeling to show up, like looking up for your idol. It's a good feeling to change it now and to be now idol for a lot of kids and showing them that you can really follow your dreams and reach your dreams.
So this is what's change. I know exactly the situation when you are the kid and looking up to now being the person where the kids are looking up as well. It's a new situation and a new challenge for me.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports