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January 1, 2017

Angelique Kerber

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You were wearing a hoodie. Are you ready for the conditions?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I'm ready for it. Inside it's really cold. The air conditioners are on, but, of course, I mean, for me, yeah, it's a big deal because I was practicing indoors and it was cold in Germany.

Yeah, I think I will need like two, three days to get used to these weather conditions. That's for sure.

Q. When you step off the plane and are finally back on Australian soil, is it an overwhelming feeling, like, I have a lot to do, I have a lot of points to defend?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: To be honest, I'm really not thinking about defending points or pressure, whatever. I was, like, really happy to be back in Australia, like, the trip was really long again. It's always nice to be being back here.

Everything starts here last year for me. Everything, actually. This is my only feeling I have now to being back here and trying to get used very fast to everything: the jet lag, the weather conditions, and just playing like I always playing, game after game. Yeah, of course to play my best again here.

Q. Did you give yourself time to reflect on what you achieved in 2016?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yes, I mean, of course especially on my vacation I was trying to thinking about all the months, starting with Australian Open, and then, yeah, New York and Singapore at the end.

Of course I had to get a little bit time to really reflect everything and really believing in everything what happened in the last 12 months, actually, because it was so many things change and happen also in the last few weeks, what I had to do in Germany, especially.

But it's nice. I'm still enjoying it, and just was always my dream, and now I can live my dream, actually.

Q. (Question about difference going into 2017.)
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I mean, I think -- this year I think it will be a completely different year than 2016. There are a lot of challenges that I had now, and I think I'm ready.

I think this is the next step, you know, to starting here in Brisbane, especially, and with a new feeling than last year. Of course the pressure is there, but it's a different pressure now.

Q. What was it here last year that, if you look back, what was it here that started your run? Can you think of anything?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think every single match, I mean, starting here with my first round where I played on the first court, I think, and I lost the first set, and then we had rain delay, and it was, like, up and down and I come back after losing the first set and I won that match.

So this was, I think, the start for my journey in 2016 here in Australia, because then I played every single round better and better. And then, of course, the final against Vika here was not bad, yeah, going then with a lot of confidence to Melbourne.

Q. How do you like Brisbane as a city?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I really like Brisbane. And also, yesterday we came just on time to the fireworks and to celebrate New Year's, so I really like the city.

I don't know how many times I'm already here. I played Fed Cup few years ago. I was twice in one year in Brisbane. I like the people. This is what I'm really enjoying here.

Q. Last year you had a tan, you'd been to the Maldives, were working on your fitness and stuff. Did you think not to do that again? Sometimes when you get success off something, do you repeat it the next season? You didn't do that this year, obviously.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Like, in my holidays? Or what do you mean?

Q. Your offseason.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: My offseason, my practice season?

Q. Yeah.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No, I was doing most of the same what I did last year. I was practicing at home, and I had the same team around me, which I had last year and the years before, so I was not changing nothing on my team.

So actually I was more focusing on every single practice session than last year.

Q. How important was the offseason, the break for you this year, especially after all you achieved this last year? I know you said you were reflecting. What did you sort of specifically do just to unwind and take care of Angie a little bit?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It was really important to have, like, few weeks off after Singapore, because that was really the last tournament I could play. Because after that I was really tired, mentally and physically and everything.

So I went to holidays. I went back home where I was really putting my racquet in the corner and I was really trying, living without tennis for a few weeks, meeting my friends and just enjoying every single moment. Of course reflecting on the year, that was also something I did, yeah, a lot of days.

But, yeah, to really not thinking about tennis. That was very important for me after Singapore.

Q. Do you think you got enough time?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think you can always have a little bit more time (smiling). But at the end, I think I had enough time to really have a great holidays and everything what's happen like around and what I have to do, like, off-court.

But, of course, I mean, I will try also this year to have a little bit more time between the tournaments and really focusing on the big tournaments.

Q. You're changing your schedule a little bit?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: A little bit, yeah. I'm changing it a little bit, because for me this year it's really important to being ready on every big tournament.

Q. What surprised you most about being No. 1? I know the commitments have grown and you have done a lot, I'm sure, in Germany as well as what we have seen on tour. What did you just didn't know that that entailed?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I mean, this is, I think, the biggest thing, that I have so much things to do. I think I was thinking that it will be a little bit more, but it was really big thing here and in Germany and everywhere.

So that was surprising me a lot, and, yeah, it's actually just trying to enjoying it. I'm still enjoying it. For me, it's really important. And where I'm really proud, that I have a great team and family around me, that just they are still normal to me and they are treating me like I am like I am before I was the No. 1 and when I lose a lot of matches. So this is, for me, important to stay like I am. I think I'm not changing too much.

Q. With the weather, what is preferable when you start a season? Is the heat good to acclimatize yourself to the conditions you're going to expect? Or it doesn't matter? The girls have had a heat suspension on centre court. What's preferable?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: This is tough. I mean, for me, I don't need too much time, you know. I don't like to come to tournaments like one week before, because I just need like few days, and then I'm ready to go for it. Because I can practice at home, and then tournaments, you are not able to, like, practicing too much on special things.

You just have to find your rhythm and staying really, yeah, healthy, and, like, you have to -- you need the power for the matches. So, for me, it's -- of course it's really hot here, but I think I just need one, two days and then I'm fine.

I know the weather conditions. I'm not the first year here. So I think I know my rhythm, how to deal with this. Everybody has to find their own way to get used to that.

Q. You won't request any nighttime games? You're okay if you play daytime?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yes, I'm okay to play daytime. For me, it's not a big deal.

Q. You could play, in the second round, Ash Barty, an Australian who took time away from the game and came back. Do you know anything about her game?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don't know. I just know the name, and I saw few matches from her, like, few months ago, because I know that she had, like, a break.

But, yeah, I don't know too much how she is really playing and everything, but let's see. I mean, I don't know against who she's playing. I think it's a qualifier. Then we will see.

Q. I guess, how hard is it? A lot of people don't understand the pressure you guys face on tour week in and week out, and that was something Ash was talking about that grinded on her. Now she's chosen to come back.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think, of course -- and she's right, because the pressure is really tough, and it's really not so easy sometimes to deal with this.

But you have to find the way to get, like, used to it, to find, yeah, how you can deal with this. Sometimes it's better to not reading too much, to not listen to everybody. Just having also what's important, like, to have people around you. They are like supporting and taking care of you, and just, that's I think the most important thing when you are really professional athlete.

Q. When you talk about the offseason and preseason and the work you're going to do and you go do it, how different of an Angie are we going to be seeing on court this year?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It's a surprise. So you will see. Soon. You will see soon. (Laughter.)

Q. But, I mean, like, how much of the tinkering was done with your game? I think you said there were improvements that were made?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yes, of course I'm trying to improving my game every single practice, and of course now it's a little bit different, because now I have to play a lot of matches and to get the transit to the matches. This is always a little bit tricky.

I think I will need few matches to find the rhythm again and to change it also what we practicing in the last few weeks. Yeah, this will be, I think, the next step and the goal for the next matches before I'm going to Melbourne.

Q. Do you see Serena, do you see her as the main threat?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I mean, Serena, it's one of the best players in the world and she's a champion. So it's always, yeah, honor to play with her. And, I mean, I really looking forward to playing against her again on big courts and big matches. Yeah, I'm sure that it will be not easy.

Q. You're really good friends with Ana. On the heels of her news, what was your reaction and thoughts on her retirement?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I mean, I think she was thinking a lot, and I think she, for her, like, that's her decision. I'm really close to her, and she's one of my best friends on tour, so I will miss her really much.

I told her that. I was, like, Okay, Ana, I will miss you now.

Yeah, but I know that I will see her very soon again, and she is still my friend. So she is, yeah, always beside me. That's for sure.

But, of course, I mean, I'm happy for her that, yeah, she gets married last year. And now, of course, it's a little bit sad, but that's her decision. If she's happy, I'm happy.

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