Former No.1 and three-time major champion Angelique Kerber struck a zen tone as she cheerfully met the media ahead of the Grampians Trophy, where the German is set to kick off her 2021 season. The Grampians Trophy, a third WTA 500 event being played this week at Melbourne Park, was created specifically for players who were subjected to the "hard quarantine" after arriving on flights that contained a positive COVID case.
"When they told me you have to stay in the hard lockdown, at first I was a little bit shocked, like, Okay, is that really real?" Kerber told reporters in Melbourne. "I was not expecting this, for sure."
"But then, really like a few minutes after that, I was like, Okay, this is now the situation. I can also understand the other side. Let's just do the best I can do because now I'm here, I cannot move out again.
"I was trying to stay calm and find the peace out of the situation. I think also all the experience and also how I am right now gives me actually the calm to really stay the 14 days in the room and do my exercises, doing things that I never do.
"Every day I was FaceTiming with all my friends. I was still trying to adjust to the time to Australia because I was living I think the first eight days like in German time still.
"But I was trying really to stay calm. I think when you get older, you are really having the peace inside of you."
"I was trying more to be calm, trying to take the best out of the situation. I think Australia is doing such a great job right now. When you go outside, they have no cases. They suffer for so many months here. I think on one side it was the best thing to do.
"Now I'm just trying to get used to the courts as soon as possible, playing a lot of points. Starting also a little bit slow, not to think to try that I can now get the two weeks back in few days."
Kerber said her body certainly felt the shock after 14 days without a racquet.
"When I wake up [after my first practice], I was like, Okay, tennis is really a hard sport because you feel the whole body when you are, like, two weeks only in your hotel room," she said, laughing.
"But like now, two, three days later, it feels okay again."
Asked whether the unanticipated quarantine might impact her expectations for the Aussie swing, the 2016 Australian Open champion did not hesitate.
"I mean, that's an easy question and easy answer," Kerber said.
"For sure I don't have any pressure right now. Like I said, I prepared really good. I practiced a lot. But now, I took my pressure out, my expectation, everything.
"Of course it was not the plan, how I planned the trip to Australia. On the other side, I can just try to do the best now. I can enjoy the sport even more than before, I think. I will really put my pressure out and just try to play as good as I can in this tournament."
Kerber is set to play Katerina Siniakova in her opening round at the Grampians Trophy, with the winner to face either Ons Jabeur or Anna Blinkova.
Until then, Kerber says she has faith that her experience will accelerate her ability to find her rhythm quickly.
"Now I think the most important thing is really to have matches, to find the rhythm on court, and to not try to do too much," Kerber said. "I think it's really important to not get injured, to still plan your day schedule really with a sense.
"This is a really big challenge also for me because, of course, I'm going out, I want to play, three times a day, just hitting balls.
"I'm trying to just hit once, do my fitness stuff, just coming slowly back because I think this is really important to really stay healthy."
"Finding the rhythm I think when I play a few matches, it will come. I have so much experience already to know how it is.
"I think also what's really important is the mental thing right now. Okay, I went through the two weeks of hard lockdown, but it's okay, I'm fine with that, and now I'm looking ahead. I'm not looking back."