World No.1 Angelique Kerber hopes to put a tough first half of the season behind her beginning on the lawns of the All-England Club, she revealed to reporters on Saturday.
WTA Staff

LONDON, Great Britain - World No.1 Angelique Kerber arrives at the All-England Club as last year's finalist, but 12 months on, the German is looking forward, not living in the past - especially as it relates to the first six months of her season.

"I was really practicing hard the last few weeks. I know that if you work hard, some points you will get the results - but I will not put the pressure in Wimbledon. I have still the next months where I have big tournaments," Kerber told reporters in her pre-tournament press conference on Saturday. "I am here to playing good tennis, trying to win every single match, but I will think more about the next half [of the] year.

"I'm really happy that I'm playing good tennis again on the practice courts, but now I have to make the transit [into the match]. I think this is more in my mind - to not put too much pressure [on myself] now for this tournament."

With defending champion Serena Williams pregnant and out of the game, Kerber will get the traditional honor of opening play on Tuesday on Centre Court as the runner-up, but the German arrives at SW19 in a very different place than she was a year ago.

"I had so many great memories from the final last year. I will never forget that," Kerber said. "I watched few highlights from that match against Serena last year. I think it's just amazing match from both of us. I mean, Serena was playing unbelievable. She was serving, this is what I'm remembering, very well. I can say forever I played this final here.

"When I walked yesterday here, a lot of great memories came through my mind. So it's nice, of course, to being back, especially on grass, and here in Wimbledon.

Since rising to the top of the world rankings after winning the US Open in September, Kerber has not raised another trophy - and sees both Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova arrive at Wimbledon as legitimate threats to leave with her No.1 ranking in hand. 

Her 2017 season has been a mixed bag as well - after falling in the fourth round of her Australian Open defense, Kerber reached the quarterfinals or better in just three events through the North American spring hard court season and on clay, culminating with an emphatic first round defeat at the hands of Ekaterina Makarova at Roland Garros.

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"After Paris, I was trying to take few days for me, just trying to not thinking too much about the clay court season," Kerber revealed. "I'm not doing this any more. I mean, for me, it's now the next tournament, the next Grand Slam here. You know that everything is possible, especially in this big tournament. I'm starting from zero here. My mind is just day by day here, like last year. I will try to play good tennis again.

"I'm feeling much better playing on grass court. I mean, I cannot compare this. I worked very hard the last few weeks after Paris. So I'm really happy to being here, playing again on grass court."

After being forced to withdraw from the Aegon Classic in Birmingham with injury, Kerber took a wildcard into the Aegon International in Eastbourne last week and won back-to-back matches for just the second time since March before falling to Johanna Konta in the quarterfinals.

"I had good matches last week. I'm healthy so far, so this is very important for see how I'm feeling during the match, after Birmingham, [and] also get few matches before coming here," the German said. "I think it was a good decision to playing Eastbourne last week."

Memories of a year ago in hand, Kerber will continue to just look forward as her fortnight begins - and her road begins with the first round, where she'll face American qualifier Irina Falconi. 

"I remember her actually, like, from years ago, two, three years ago. I was practicing with her few times," the German assessed. "I mean, she has to play good. She came through the qualifying. I mean, every single match is tough here, especially the first rounds. It doesn't matter against who you play."

With French Open runner-up Halep and Aegon International champion Pliskova hot on her heels for the No.1 ranking, Kerber will have to repeat the feat to have a chance of retaining her hold on the top spot - which she's held for a total of 32 non-consecutive weeks so far. 

"I will not put the pressure...too high. I mean, I'm already so long the No. 1," Kerber said of the rankings-related task in front of her. "I will try, of course, to keep it, but at the end, I am here to playing round by round and focusing only on my matches, not about the numbers or the rankings, the points I have to defend, or whatever.

"I'm here to really trying to focusing day by day, not thinking too far, not thinking about other things, making the things...not too complicated."