Angelique Kerber heads into her maiden grand slam final on Saturday planning to play with the freedom that comes with already having exceeded expectations.
The seventh seed crashed out in the first round of last year’s Australian Open and didn’t make it past the third round of any of the other slams, and so, despite winning four titles in 2015, few thought that the German would make it any where near the final of this year’s Australian Open.
But here she is, preparing to take on Serena Williams on Saturday on Rod Laver Arena.
Williams’ world class record and dominating form mean that she’s the overwhelming favourite heading into the clash. Kerber is happy to be the underdog as she believes it allows her to play with complete freedom as she has ‘nothing to lose’.
“‘Nothing to lose’ means I can go out there and try to play like I’m playing, without pressure, without nothing,” she said on Friday.
“I think when you ask a lot of people, I think most will say, ‘Okay, Serena will win’, but this is the challenge I can take. I go out there, I don’t have nothing to lose. I don’t have so much pressure like she has. This is what I mean that I have nothing to lose. I know I can lose the match. That’s why I’m going out there to try to win the match.”
Having seen Agnieszka Radwanska blown away by Williams in a straight sets demolition in the semi-finals, Kerber knows that she will have to be at the top of the game from the outset if she is to have a chance of downing the world number one.
“Against Serena you never know how she’s serving. I mean, she’s serving unbelievable good. She’s returning good,” Kerber explained.
“I think the first few balls, they are really deciding in the match. I must be there from the first point and playing very deep. When I’m too short, she’s just going for it. She is making winner, winner and winner. I saw it yesterday against Aga [Radwanska]. I must be ready to play my game and also be aggressive like she is.”
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