Angelique Kerber typically heads to the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix as her second clay court tournament of the season. While she’s already played two matches in Stuttgart thanks to Germany’s winning Fed Cup tie against Ukraine, the German has continued to tinker with her schedule, opting instead to play one more hardcourt tournament following a tough loss to Venus Williams at the Miami Open.
“I think it was the right decision because I played well at Monterey,” she said of her runner-up finish at the Abierto GNP Seguros during Stuttgart’s All-Access Hour. “I had great matches, I played good tennis.
“I went to Monterey because I played there a few times before and it’s great to have good matches before coming back to Europe and then really putting all your focus on clay courts. It also gave me a little bit more time to focus on this clay, and this tournament.
“Normally I’d go from Miami to Charleston, and only have a few days off before switching from green clay to red.”
Scheduling has been crucial for Kerber, who could return to No.1 this week in Stuttgart, provided she reaches the semifinals. The two-time Grand Slam champion has spent many a press conference discussing how she’s attempted to balance her increase in off-court obligations as the tour’s top ranked player, and Tuesday’s was no different.
“The first thing is really making my schedule, especially my daily schedule because I have much more things to do right now. I’ve had to learn to really take care of myself and my tennis in the last few weeks and months. My team helps me focus on the game. I know I have to improve my tennis, be more aggressive, have fun and be patient on the court
“I’m still on a good way to change everything and to make it better.”
Things have largely looked better for Kerber since Miami, narrowly losing to four-time champ Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Monterrey and helping her team remain in World Group.
“The weekend was really tough and emotional but in the end I got to play two matches here on the center court. It is always a great feeling to come back to the tournament where you won the last year and you’re the defending champion.
“I won it already twice in a row, so I will try to make my best to make it the third time. Of course, it is not easy. You have to play your best tennis here.”
Kerber plays her first match against the winner of Kristina Mladenovic and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, following a first round bye, and aims not to think too much of the top spot on the line.
“If I play well, I will get the No.1 spot back, so I’m not thinking about that too much anymore. I’m trying to feel my tennis on court again, to go out there and win matches. I think this is my goal for the next two weeks.”