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Angelique Kerber reveals what it really takes to win Wimbledon 2018

Posted by
Billie Bhatia
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In an exclusive interview the newly crowned Wimbledon champion, Angelique Kerber, sits down with Stylist to tell us what it takes to be world number one, to beat Serena Williams and how to enjoy the moment 

On Saturday 14 July, after a nail-biting wait for Centre Court (thanks to the Nadal v Djokovic match which still had legs 26 hours after it started), Angelique Kerber took on the undisputed Queen of SW19, Serena Williams. With a hugely impressive and determined performance, Kerbed upended Williams’ throne to claim the Ladies Singles Title in just 65 minutes – a poetic finish for Kerber who lost to Williams at her first Wimbledon final back in 2016.

In true Wimbledon style, the match ended with Kerber and Williams embracing and acknowledging each other’s performances and efforts. Post-match, Kerber said of her fierce opponent: “Serena you are a great, great person and a huge inspiration to all of us and everyone watching, really you are amazing and I am sure you will have your next Grand Slam title very soon. Congratulations on coming back.”

Angelique Kerber Wimbledon champion in Adidas x Palace

On what really goes through your mind the second you realise you have won Wimbledon…

Winning the title at Wimbledon was always the biggest dream for me, even from when I was just a child. There were so many emotions that I felt when I hit the ground: I was proud, so happy, relieved and also exhausted!

On why Wimbledon is so special…

I guess because it’s Wimbledon, everybody knows this tournament even people that aren’t fans of tennis. It’s a huge tennis tradition and one that I have been watching since I was a child. You immediately think of everyone playing in white and on grass and it’s so different to the other tournaments so that in itself makes Wimbledon so special.

On her earliest memory…

I started playing tennis when I was 3 years old with my parents in Germany, I was going on court with them and playing with big soft balls and I guess that was the start of my tennis career. 

On deciding to pursue tennis professionally…

This was a really easy decision for me because tennis has always been my life, it’s what I have grown up with. There was a time where I was a really good swimmer too and I could have done that but in the end I really the competition in tennis. You go on court you play 1, 2 or 3 hours and then it’s over but it feels good. Swimming is something I still do but as part of my training and to relax.

On her tennis idols…

Steffi Graf was always my idol and to be the first German woman after Steffi to win Wimbledon which is a huge honour. Steffi was a champion and to be the next Grand Slam winner after her, especially here at Wimbledon, that is making history and no body can take that away from me.

On the mind-set it takes to beat Serena Williams…

For me, I can’t think about who I am playing because Serena and I we are friends. We go on tour together, we play against each other and we have a huge amount of respect for each other. I just have to think about what is going on on my side of the net and in the past we have played so many good matches and I knew I had to play my absolute best tennis against her, especially in the finals and this is what was going through my mind before the match that I had to be the best. 

On how to deal with the crowd…

This is something that really only comes with experience. Going to Wimbledon and playing in front of thousands of people that is nothing new for me and I have played on Centre Court before in Wimbledon. It feels incredibly special to be able to share something with so many people and so many fans and I really enjoy playing in front of a crowd. Of course, this wasn’t always the way, when I first started playing in front of people I was so nervous and I remember that moment my first Centre Court against a big opponent it is terrifying. However, with experience you know what to expect and you become more relaxed in yourself around people.

On how to push the women’s game further…

I think we are trying our best already to show that the women’s game is important - we train hard, we practice hard, we travel around the world too. We are doing a lot of the same things as men which is ultimately to play until our limits can’t be reached any further and this is what the game is about. Ultimately the women’s game is just as important as men’s and I am proud of it.

On who she would like to have the ultimate showdown with…

It would have to be Steffi Graf. I don’t know I would win, it would be tough! She is still in great shape but I would be so excited at the prospect of playing my hero. 

Images: adidas tennis x Palace / Getty