From: 27/05/2022 18:08
Angelique Kerber again managed to win the title at the French Open in Paris. She leaves open whether she should once again line up in the tennis calendar’s biggest clay court tournament.
Even after 15 entries, Angelique Kerber has yet to find happiness at the French Open. After the elimination in the third round against Alexandra Sasnowitsch (4: 6, 6: 7), it is still the case that so far in Paris, nothing was possible but to reach the quarterfinals in 2012 and 2018.
And slowly the question arises: does Kerber still have what it takes to win the fourth Grand Slam tournament of his career?
Less pressure, more calm, but hardly any success
The 34-year-old started this year’s biggest clay court tournament full of hope after winning the final on this pitch in Strasbourg last week. “I’m trying to approach the tournament this year with less pressure and a little more calm,” Kerber then explained his plan for Paris.
Her approach was “not to start with very high expectations and the idea that I’m still missing it in my Grand Slam collection”. But secretly, she started again with this very desire to complete the collection – and failed.
Optimistic look ahead
“I’m sorry it’s already over and would have liked me one or two more rounds. But I’ve got everything out of myself the last few days,” Kerber said after her premature exit, stressing how much she was looking forward to the next Grand Slam tournament in London (June 27 to July 10). “I’m glad it’s going on grass now. The dot is still there, especially now for Wimbledon,” Kerber said.
The hope that Kerber will continue their most successful times has not yet disappeared. Since her Wimbledon victory in 2018, she has only won a minor tournament in Bad Homburg last year, in addition to the aforementioned victory in Strasbourg.
Angelique Kerber with the Wimbeldon Trophy 2018
Photo: Toby Melville / Reuters
She was at the peak of her career in 2016 with the Australian and US Open titles and climbed to number one on the women’s world rankings.
A new generation dominates women’s tennis
For a total of 34 weeks, Kerber was the best tennis player in the world (in tabular form). She currently has to settle for 17th place, although she seems to be even further away from a major success than these 16 world rankings.
At 34, she is the oldest player in the top 45, but she recently stressed “still has a great passion for the sport”. Kerber continues, “I’m fine, I’m healthy, and I’ve always said I want to play as long as I have that feeling. I know I can still keep up.”
Was it your last French Open?
Not only in Paris did she owe the proof. Perhaps her sentences sounded a little more reserved after last Friday’s defeat. “There are still two Grand Slam tournaments this year. We’ll see what comes after that. I’m not looking that far anymore,” Kerber said when asked if she would participate in the French Open again next year.
Especially since the examples of tennis players who were still able to achieve great success in old age are few and far between, at least in recent times. While the experienced Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal (both 35) are usually among the title favorites for men, the younger generation has long had the upper hand for women.
Only Williams managed what Kerber wanted to do
Currently, 20-year-old Iga Swiatek dominates women’s tennis, winning 31 matches in a row and after Ashley Barty’s retirement at the age of 26 is the undisputed number one in the world.
Only Serena Williams has managed to win a Grand Slam at Kerber’s age in recent years. Williams was 35 when she won her last title at the Australian Open in 2017.
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Even Steffi Graf was not able to celebrate great successes in his old age as an athlete. Shortly after her 30th birthday, the best German tennis player (22 Grand Slam victories) ended her career, a few months earlier she had managed to win the French Open again – after two and a half years of dry time.