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January 13, 2018

Angelique Kerber

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

A. KERBER/A. Barty

6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations on the title. It's been more than a year for you. What does it feel like and what does it mean to you to be back here?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It feels longer than one year, actually, but it feels very good to being back, first of all, here in Sydney and winning the first title of my first tournament this year.

I mean, I had a great week. I played good tennis. Yeah, I mean, the final against Ash was not easy, but I was able to play my game in important moments. So I'm really happy and proud to win the first title in 2018.

Q. Do you feel like you're back to your 2016 level?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, I think it's just the beginning of the year, but yeah, I think I'm getting closer to this again and just trying to focusing from match to match and trying to play again my tennis like I played the last years, especially 2016. Yeah, it's great that the year start so well, especially here in Australia and Sydney.

Q. Did you expect to have such intense competition here? The players you have beaten throughout, it's unusual for a tournament of this stage.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, yeah, I think the draw was really tough. A lot of tough players was playing here. The draw was also not easy, but, I mean, I was not seeded, so, I mean, that was also what I was expecting from the beginning, to have really tough matches.

But, yeah, I came here to just playing match by match, and I was not looking too far ahead. I was just trying to getting used to the weather conditions, as well, because every day was a little bit different: windy, it was hot, and everything.

So actually, yeah, I'm very proud how I was able to play every single day.

Q. Did you feel it was consistent or there was one particular performance that stood out from the others?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No, I think it was just a consistent, good week for me. I mean, every single match was really tough, beginning from the first round where I was actually match point down.

And then to playing against all the other players, I was just trying to, like I said, playing good tennis, trying to making the transit between the preseason and the matches, which is always a little bit different.

Q. In the commentary of the match, they said after your loss to Ash in Zhuhai you were in tears and saying, Thank God this year is over. Is that accurate?

Q. That after your loss in Zhuhai, that you were in tears and that you said, Thank God the year is over?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I was really happy that the year was over, that's true. I mean, after Zhuhai I was going back home, and I was just trying to take a lot of weeks off and just trying to forget the year, 2017.

I mean, I was trying to focusing again on my preseason, working hard, and just looking ahead on 2018. So this is where I am right now, and this is what I will try to do my best in this year and not looking back again, no.

Q. The mentality from that point to now, I mean, that takes a lot of strength and character. What do you put that down to?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think I'm always a person that try to fight. Doesn't matter what's happen. I'm always trying to coming back, and this is what I was also trying the last few weeks to working hard and pushing me until my limits. And also, now I know what I can do. I did it 2016 and also the years before.

So this is, yeah, what I was having always in my mind when I was preparing for this year, and, I mean, yeah, now I won my first title so that's, for sure, a good way where I am right now.

Q. Did you need something like this to rebuild your self-confidence?

Q. Did you need something like this to rebuild your self-confidence?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I mean, you need always matches to win and to play good tennis, because practice and matches are always different, especially tournaments.

I remember, like, when I was always playing good, I had a lot of matches, a lot of tough matches. This is where I take also my confidence from. Of course, that gives me a much better feeling than losing matches.

Q. How do you feel then going into the Australian Open? It's about those matches and you have had so many and won so many. Is this the best you have felt going into a slam? Do you feel excited?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I'm really feeling excited. This tournament is over now. Next week starts a completely new tournament, new city, we are all starting from zero.

I will just try to get, yeah, to have a lot of rest, as much as I can get in the next two days, and then starting every single match from zero. I mean, every match will be tough, but first of all, I will just enjoying today the title, and then from tomorrow I will be thinking about Melbourne.

Q. You had nice words to say about Ash after the match. She said in here that your relationship goes back quite a long time, that you really took her under your wing when she first started on the tour.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with her?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I mean, actually, Ash is a great person. I mean, of course she's a great player, but also off court you can always chat with her and just speak, spend time together.

Yeah, I mean, what she did in the last year, it's amazing. I mean, where she was and where she is now, I think it's a huge step right now, and for sure, she will have still a great 2018. I'm very sure about this.

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