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October 21, 2013

Angelique Kerber


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about your final season push to get here?  At the US Open you were still outside of the top 10, and then you were finally able to snag the last qualifying spot.
ANGELIQUE KERBER:  Yeah, the last few weeks I played very well, and after NewYork I had great success in the Asian tour, and I'm just happy to take the last spot here and to be back at the second time in a row, because, you know, I have such great memories from last year.
It's always nice to and also the goal to be here Istanbul, and you are working and practice very hard.   I'm just happy to be back.

Q.  Was it harder this year to sustain your success rather than to get here the first time?  Second time in some ways harder to do?
ANGELIQUE KERBER:  Yes, I mean, last year it was not easy, but it was a little bit different because last year I had nothing to lose the whole year.  I played very well, and this year, you know, I had points to defend.  I had the pressure from, you know, from outside and also I did it myself.
It was a little bit different and also difficult, so I think that's also a success for me and very special to be here like for my second time, and it's great.  I think I'm also proud of everything I did this year.

Q.  Did it almost feel like after the US Open maybe mentally you felt like you didn't have anything to defend anymore?  You were kind of outside the top 10, and maybe you were able to play more freely?
ANGELIQUE KERBER:  Yes, I think after the US Open I was feeling much more relaxed than before, and at the beginning of the season I was practicing very hard before NewYork and after, and I was preparing for the Asian tour, and I was just playing like, you know, like last year, I had nothing to lose.
I really enjoyed it again like more and more, and, you know, I have a great time with my team, and I think all together works very well.  So that's why I'm also playing very good at the end of the season.

Q.  Why were you putting pressure on yourself?
ANGELIQUE KERBER:  Good question.  You know, last year I end the season in the top 10, and of course I make the pressure to be better and better, and I think it was too much at the end that I put the pressure too high, and I was not able to control this.
But after, you know, after Wimbledon I was relaxed some more, because then I find my rhythm again, you know.  I was playing because I love the sport, and I was relaxed and I was just having fun on my practice court again.  I think this was also the point in the season which shows me that without pressure I can play much better than when I make the pressure of myself.

Q.  Regarding Linz, Caroline Wozniacki complained that you got the wild card.  Just talk about that situation.  Was it uncomfortable at all for you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER:  You know, I was just asking for the wildcard in Linz and I got it.  I was just happy to be there and I had the chance to play.
I was actually not just focusing on myself but the goal was to qualify here, and yeah, I qualified at the end.  Yeah, I'm just happy, and, you know, I think ‑‑yeah, I did nothing wrong, so, yeah.

Q.  A question about Linz, the wildcard came out after the draw was made, so wondering how things unfolded.  It was a bit confusing from the outside.
ANGELIQUE KERBER:  Yeah, I mean, like I said, I mean, I asked, and, you know, I think this question is not to me.  You should ask the other ones.
But like I said, I just happy that, yeah, that I take the chance and that I can play in Linz, and I played very well there.  I won the tournament, and I think that's what counts.

Q.  I just wonder what you think the advantages of being a left‑hander are in the women's game.
ANGELIQUE KERBER:  Yes, I think so.  I think when you play left hand it's a little bit advantage, but I think not too much right now, because there are a lot of lefties in the rankings now, and, yeah, I mean, it's for me also different when I play against a lefty because it's a little bit different because I practice and play against more right hands.  I think it may be a little advantage but I think not too much.

Q.  It's a long season.  For you personally, what's the toughest part of the whole, you know, season?  Anything?
ANGELIQUE KERBER:  It's a tough and long season like every year, but the toughest one I think is to play consistent and be focused on every tournament.  And you play like 10 months on the road and you need to be also tough and ready with your body, you know.
That's why I also take a physio right now with me, because it's very important that you're healthy.  You need to be fit the whole year, so I think this is the toughest thing to manage.

Q.  Physically, that's what's hardest for you?  Just staying fit?  It's not the travel, it's not the mental, not the losses?  It's really just staying physically prepared?
ANGELIQUE KERBER:  I think that's the most important thing, to be physically ready.  But of course the travel, that you are traveling every week and the time zones, but actually this is normal right now for us.

Q.  Just over two years ago you were far, far from here.  Now you have been in the year‑end Championships two years in a row.  Did you expect this would happen before, or is it a surprise to you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER:  I mean, first, I always believe in myself, and I'm happy that I'm the second time here.  And I mean, in the middle of the year I was not expecting this, because I had a little bit up‑and‑down year.
But at the end of the season I played very well, and I got the last spot here, and it's nice.  That was my goal at the beginning of the season, and I take it and, yeah, it's just very special to be a part of this tournament and at this event for me.

Q.  You are one of the few players to have beaten Serena in the last couple years.  Do you feel like you have that level consistently in you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER:  I hope.  (Smiling).  I mean, I hope I will give everything I can, and I will try to remember my match against Serena in Cincinnati last year, and I will try to go there and be confident and to just play my game.
Yeah, and then we will see.

Q.  You've got a really hard group with Serena and Petra, who are very different from Radwanska.  How do you prepare for different styles of players?
ANGELIQUE KERBER:  Yeah, I mean, we are here in Istanbul, and I think the draw will not be easy.  Doesn't matter which part I am, but of course I will prepare every single match like separate, and they are a little bit different like how they are playing, but I will speak with my coach before the matches and prepare and make a plan how to play against them.
But I think I have also nothing to lose.  I will try to give my best and of course try to win my matches, but I will try just to enjoy every single match.

Q.  You were talking about pressure and in the first half of the season.  Why does the pressure make you not play your best?  Is it because of nerves?  Is it because it's not fun?  What is it exactly that prevents you from being able to play?
ANGELIQUE KERBER:  Yeah, that's tough to answer.  I think, you know, the nerves were there, for sure, and, you know, from outside also from the media and you get the pressure, and everybody is expecting you to maybe win some title or go to minimum to the semifinal and whatever, and then after that, I did the pressure also to myself.
It's not easy to find a way to make a balance, you know.  Actually at the end I was fine that not thinking about this and just focusing on my thing, to improve my tennis, that's the important thing and to really enjoy the tennis on court.  It's for me the best thing that I can do and then I play much better tennis.  I will stay with this.

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