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June 26, 2017

Angelique Kerber

Eastbourne, England

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How are you feeling coming in? You went to Mallorca to train. Pulled out of Birmingham. Where are you at?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I'm feeling good already. I pulled out from Birmingham because I was not 100% and I was feeling again a little bit my leg.

So after that, I just had, like, again a lot of treatments. Three, four days resting. Then I start practicing again.

Now I'm feeling good. It's nice to playing again on the grass courts.

Q. How would you describe your year so far?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think it was maybe not the best half year that I was supposed to play when I start the year, but at the end, I think I learned a lot during the last six months. And I think right now I had a great preparation after Paris. I had, like, few days really off where I was, like, sitting down and making few days just resting, and yeah, thinking about the last months.

But I think, yes, I think I learned a lot, and right now I just can try to change few things or learn from the positive and also from the negative things.

Q. What in particular do you think you have learned in that period?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think it was a completely new start of the year for me. And also, all the tournaments I had much more things to do, but it was a little bit different than last year. I mean, of course last year it was also a little bit different the end of the year, but now I think, yeah, I had to making few decision also if -- like, I scheduled my daily schedule, how I practice, how often I practice.

Also, I need few more time for myself, so maybe sometimes I was not practicing right now, maybe just once and taking more time for me. So just few small things.

Q. Would we be right in thinking that the actual process of being world No. 1 became a bit of a burden?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, of course it's just something nice to be, the No. 1, of course, but of course there are much more expectations, much more practice, everything what I already said so often.

So, you know, right now I am really not thinking too much about the rankings, the points or whatever. Right now I'm really trying to focusing again more on my tennis, trying to improving my tennis.

Yeah, I'm practicing a lot the last few weeks and also the last few days with no pain, with nothing. I think this is now again what my focus is really on, playing good tennis again.

Q. What did you feel the benefit was for practicing in Mallorca? Because obviously the weather in Mallorca is very different to what you can expect for the next three weeks here.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I practiced there last year, as well, before the tournament. This was the same. I practiced in Mallorca the week before the tournament, and then I went back because I knew that the weather is great there. It's completely different to England, but it was a decision because I was sure that I can practice there. Because the weather is good, I did a lot of fitness sessions there, and I think also if it's a nice place, nice weather, you have much more positive energy there. So this is why I choose to practicing there.

Q. Have you set yourself a target for this week or is it all about just getting back fit and trying to play some good tennis?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, it's just to have a lot of matches before Wimbledon. That's why I decide to take the wildcard, as well. I'm really thankful for that. Yeah, this is just having a lot of matches and feeling the grass again.

I'm happy to being on grass again, and I'm happy that the clay court season is already finished. So yeah.

Q. You had a great run at Wimbledon last year. What would you consider a success this year?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, I'm not thinking about this. It's still a long way. We are starting at zero this year. It's a new year and it's a different year.

That's why I'm just with my mind already here. This is what I'm thinking. I'm thinking right now day by day and having match by match. If I'm at Wimbledon I will think about Wimbledon.

Q. When you talk about positive energy and Mallorca being something like that, what are the kind of things that maybe not involving tennis you can do to improve your mood and getting back to training?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I mean, for me it was really important to have my people around me, some friends, my family, and also spending the free time with them doing something completely different. In Mallorca we went to the beach or just for nice restaurant.

But also here, I mean, I try to take my time, taking my book or like just watching some movies or whatever. But just, yeah, having again the positive mood to going on court and, yeah, fighting and playing my game again.

Q. Did you watch the French Open at all? If so, were you surprised by the eventual outcome?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: To be honest, I was not watching too much (smiling) because I needed the time for me and for myself. But I watched few, like, not the whole matches but like few games or few sets.

I mean, if you win a Grand Slam, you have to play good two weeks, and I think everything has to come together. Yeah, I think Ostapenko was playing, I think, one of her best tennis there for the two weeks.

Q. How dangerous do you think she can be on grass?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don't know. We will see. I think there are so many good players right now. They are dangerous on grass, on clay, or whatever. I think a lot of new ones are coming. They are young and hungry, so I think we will see.

Q. Does that add to the stress levels of the game generally that you're not sure where the challenge is going to come from? It could come from anywhere?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yes, but this is also what makes the competition right now really interesting. You have to play from the first round your best tennis. I mean, it doesn't matter against who you play right now. You have to be focusing, and actually you have to play your best. It doesn't matter against who you play.

Q. Would you agree that the women's draw is sort of wide open, that heading into Wimbledon, anybody could beat anybody? It's been proven the last couple of weeks. Is that how you look at the draw at the moment?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think so. I mean, I think we saw it already in the last few weeks, few months. This is actually I think also a challenge for everybody. But, you know, I learned in the last few weeks and months that I have really only focusing on me and not thinking too much around all the other players, all around what they are doing. I will just do my things and my schedule, and this is for what, yeah, my preparation are now just on my side on the court and focusing just more on me.

Q. We understand the agenda is Wimbledon, but it would be rather good to have an Eastbourne title, as well, to put right previous years like 2014?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I was here already twice in the final and I lost twice. Yeah, maybe the third time will be a good omen.

But it's still, I think, a long way. I mean, I'm here to playing a lot of good matches, and we are starting with the first one. I'm starting with the first one tomorrow. This is, first of all, what I'm focusing on.

Q. Are you surprised at what Petra Kvitova achieved since she came back? Do you think she's a possible winner at Wimbledon?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I'm really happy for her. She deserved to win in Birmingham. I mean, it's always tough to coming back and especially after this situation and all the things she is going.

But she's playing already good tennis and I'm, yeah, I'm happy for her. She's one of really close friends for me on tour. She's for sure really dangerous on grass. Everybody knows that.

Q. Do you think that if the hard court season was maybe two extra weeks this year, like let's say there were two more tournaments and you could have played a couple more events after Monterrey, do you think that would have had an impact? It seemed like you were playing better at the end of that.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I was feeling good in Monterrey. Then I was straight going on clay. I think clay is not maybe my favorite surface, but I think it was also too short the time between hard and clay.

I mean, next year I think I will make my schedule a little bit different, especially because of the short transition. But yeah, now it's just done and I'm not thinking back about all the things.

Q. I'm the chairman of the tennis club here. As you know, there is a big refurbishment going on. We are hoping to bring out a book to celebrate that. I wonder if you might have a warm memory or anecdote or funny story that could be included in the book.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I mean, my memories are here when I was playing my two finals. I mean, it was full on the centre court, and I remember the fans are really great here. I mean, they are watching also during the practicing, and they are really close to us. I think this is good for us, for the fans.

I mean, it's always good if the sun is out here, because I remember it's always windy, raining. Now I hope the week will be a little bit better than the last years (smiling).

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