WTA Insider caught up with Ladies Championship Gstaad winner Kiki Bertens on returning to her favorite surface, balancing a tough week of singles and doubles, and her plans to party after playing in Bastad next week.
WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen
July 23, 2017

Kiki Bertens completed the sweep at the Ladies Championship Gstaad on Sunday, winning her second title of the season by defeating Anett Kontaveit, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 before turning around to win her seventh doubles title with partner Johanna Larsson. The Dutch/Swedish duo bested Nina Stojanovich and Viktorija Golubic, 7-6(4), 4-6, 10-7 to win their second doubles title of the season.

Bertens' successful Swiss campaign means she will return to the Top 30 on Monday after putting an end to brief grass court slide. After a fantastic clay season that saw the 25-year-old defend her title in Nuremberg and make the semifinals in Rome and quarterfinals in Madrid, Bertens arrived in Gstaad carrying a four-match losing streak after after a winless spell on grass.

But nothing makes Bertens happier than playing on clay. After an early arrival in Gstaad that forced her to miss her good friend Yanina Wickmayer's wedding, Kiki had a week to savor in the Swiss Alps.

WTA Insider caught up with Bertens by phone after her triumphant week in Gstaad:


WTA Insider: Congratulations on a great week. You were quite emotional after the match. Was it a feeling of disbelief? Relief? What was going through your mind after championship point?
Bertens:
I don't know, the tears came, even earlier during the match because I had no idea what I should do to win, and a little bit the past few weeks were passing in my mind a little bit, that I didn't get the wins on the grass. I was really trying to stay positive the whole time, to practice hard again and just think the results would come. Of course I wanted this title and now it happened. I'm really happy about that.

WTA Insider: You had such a great clay season, it must have been frustrating on the grass courts. How tough were those few weeks?
Bertens:
It was tough, but I thought I played good matches. It's not like I played bad. It's just sometimes you're a little bit unlucky. In s'Hertogenbosch I think Petko played great tennis. I think I played a good match and you always want to win when you're playing in your home country. In Mallorca I got a little bit of an injury, then again in Wimbledon I started the match good and it was also a good match from my side. It was not the game I play on clay but it was good grass tennis and Sorana just played better. I don't think it was bad tennis, it was just not good enough for the wins.

Of course that's frustrating because you really want to win. You start doubting a little bit and wondering what you need to do. Will it go better when I'm on the clay again? I need to be more confident in that.

"I think when you watch me it's not that I'm the most relaxed player on the court! He's trying to not make it such a stressful life. Like in the finals, of course you want to win it but you also have to enjoy it. He's really trying to teach me that. Enjoy the hard work, enjoy to play matches, enjoy to play matches on the big stages."
Kiki Bertens on coach Raemon Sluiter

WTA Insider: "Confidence" is a word that comes up a lot when we talk.
Bertens:
Yeah, that's true [laughs]. Sometimes it's difficult.

WTA Insider: After not winning a match on grass, what was your mindset when you got to Gstaad? Was it to forget about the grass? Be excited for the clay?
Bertens:
It was nice going back to the clay again. Even back home, going to the practices and the ones we could have outside on clay were great. We got here early, on Friday, because my coach really wanted to put in some good practice before the tournament started, so I had to miss Yanina's wedding because of that.

Now I'm happy with the title. It was just about putting in the hard work again and believing every day, practicing as hard as you can and just make the best out of every day. That's what we've been saying to each other every day: Do your thing, do it as well as you can, and at the end of the week we'll see how it went.

Kiki Bertens, Gstaad, Ladies Championship Gstaad, Anett Kontaveit

WTA Insider: You're coached by Raemon Sluiter. He seems like a very funny guy, good to have around to keep things light. What has been the most important thing he's brought to the table for you?
Bertens:
Just to be a little bit more relaxed. I think when you watch me it's not that I'm the most relaxed player on the court [laughs]. He's trying to not make it a stressful life. Like in the finals, of course you want to win it but you have to enjoy it also. He's really trying to teach me that. Enjoy the hard work, enjoy to play matches, enjoy to play matches on the big stages. He's trying to teach me that.

WTA Insider: How do you learn to relax on court though? Usually just telling yourself "Hey, relax" has the opposite effect for most players. What helps you?
Bertens:
It's all starting off the court, trying to see things more relaxed. You work really hard and sometimes matches are going really good and sometimes less so. At the end of the day, if you tried what you're trying to do and do it as well as you can, then it's a good day. I think he's teaching me that. You cannot play great every day, but you have to give every day 100%.

Kiki Bertens, Gstaad, Ladies Championship Gstaad, Johanna Larsson

WTA Insider: I was talking to Kim Clijsters this weekend about playing both singles and doubles, which she did with great success. She said she loved it because it kept tennis and the tour fun. You just won your second doubles title of 2017 with Johanna. What does it mean for you to play doubles?
Bertens:
It means a lot. This was our seventh title together and it was Johanna's 10th, which is really amazing also. It's just a lot of fun. We are great friends off the court and we try to play great together and help each other out.

This week is great when you win two titles, but sometimes it's not going your way in the singles and you have to stay around for the next tournament, and it's really great practice. It's just been really fun and it's been helping my tennis and I hope Johanna's tennis as well.

WTA Insider: How are you feeling about your season so far?
Bertens:
I'm really happy about it. At the beginning of the year if you were to say I'd be Top 30 again I'd definitely sign right away. Getting two titles this year has been unbelievable. I couldn't have wished for more. Hopefully we can keep it going and maybe get a title on hardcourts [laughs].

"At the beginning of the year if you were to say I'd be Top 30 again I'd definitely sign right away. Getting two titles this year has been unbelievable. I couldn't have wished for more. Hopefully we can keep it going and maybe get a title on hardcourts!"
Kiki Bertens

WTA Insider: You'll be back in the Top 30 on Monday. You've won two titles. You did well to defend your clay points. What were your goals for the 2017 season and have you exceeded them?
Bertens:
It was not really about goals or about the clay. I just really wanted to win another title and I now have two, which is really great. Last year people said you had a great year so next year you have to do better, and you're trying to say that to yourself also.

I'd like to finish the season with a better ranking than I did last year, but I already reached my best ranking earlier in the year so I think that is also a really nice thing. I was Top 20, so that was also a goal. It's just trying to improve my game and feeling happy on the court and off the court. I think that's the most important thing for me right now.

WTA Insider: So how does Kiki Bertens celebrate a title?
Bertens:
It's tough. My first title was in Fes and it was such a long time ago and I don't think I even knew how to party back then [laughs]. My second title in Nuremberg I had to go straight to Paris, then this year in Nuremberg it was the same. Now I have to go to Bastad so it's not really time to celebrate, but maybe tonight or after Bastad I'll have a few days off for sure and then we'll have a little party.

WTA Insider: I definitely want to make sure you take the time to celebrate the title. Winning titles is hard, you deserve it.
Bertens:
I will definitely party after Bastad. Promise.