In a new interview and photoshoot with KLM's in-flight magazine The Holland Herald, World No.4 Kiki Bertens discusses finding a new perspective which has propelled her to new heights in her career, and the physical and mental adaptations which got her to that point.
WTA Staff
June 12, 2019

Now at a career-high World No.4 ranking and the top-seeded competitor at the Libéma Open in her home country this week, Kiki Bertens is flying high. But the top-ranked Dutchwoman has always been open and honest about her rollercoaster last few seasons on the WTA.

Bertens expanded upon her recent ups and downs, her methods of dealing with the unpredictability of tennis, and the benefits of her newfound resilience in an all-new interview and photoshoot with The Holland Herald, the in-flight magazine of her national airline, KLM.

For the full issue containing the complete article and photoshoot, click here!

“I know now that even when I’m feeling low, there will always be a brighter day," Bertens told The Holland Herald. "I’m also better at putting disappointments into perspective. Losing still sucks, but I’m healthy and happy, and that’s what matters most."

For example, even though she admits in the article that losing to Maria Sakkari during her Volvo Car Open title defense was "disappointing," Bertens's updated outlook means when she has losses like that, she does not "dwell on it for too long. These days I prefer to focus on the next tournament around the corner.” Just a handful of weeks later, she won the biggest singles title of her career in Madrid.

Kiki Bertens (© The Holland Herald)
Kiki Bertens (© The Holland Herald)

The end of the 2017 season has regularly been noted as a turning point for Bertens, despite finishing the year in the Top 35 and winning the WTA Finals in doubles.

"Every training session and competition was a struggle," Bertens states in The Holland Herald, reflecting back on that timeframe. "So, I had to ask myself some difficult questions. What do I want from my career? Do I even want to carry on? I was used to doing things for other people, pleasing everyone but myself, so it was good for me to do this soul-searching.”

Supported by her coach Raemon Sluiter and her physical therapist and fiance Remko de Rijke, Bertens wrote down the changes she wanted to make in her career. Chief among them was the commitment to improved physical health and mental resilience.

Starting yoga was key to improving both. “Yoga helped me both physically and mentally,” Bertens says in the article. “Tennis makes your muscles strong but stiff, and yoga helps me stay flexible. But I also noticed the meditative elements are beneficial to calm my mind.”

Kiki Bertens (© The Holland Herald)
Kiki Bertens (© The Holland Herald)

“I have a tendency to gain weight easily, so I really have to be careful about what I eat," Bertens adds. "Very few sugars or carbs when I’m not training, and fish and vegetables when I go out for dinner.”

The Dutchwoman admits that incremental changes can pay huge dividends. “Improving my serve by a kilometer or two an hour can already have an effect on its impact,” Bertens says in The Holland Herald. “That’s what drives me. If I felt like I'd reached my maximum capacity, why would I carry on?”

Bertens has carried on, all the way to at her best-ever ranking. “On a good day, I can beat anyone," Bertens continues. "And on a bad day, I can lose to anyone. Every player in the top 100 is a professional who's striving for victory, so the competition is always stiff. I just try to give every match my best, that’s all I can do.”

“I could’ve ended my career without any sense of shame in 2017; reaching the top 30 is a pretty solid accomplishment," Bertens adds. "But I had a sense of not having reached my full potential yet. Why couldn't I become the world's number one?

"The way I feel now, and with the current competition, anything is possible. And I still love the game. When I’m on the court and all the elements are working for me, it’s just magic.”

For the full issue containing the complete article and photoshoot, click here!

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kiki bertens