Angelique Kerber is glad to be back on grass and that the clay court season is over. Photo: Petr David Josek, AP
Angelique Kerber is glad to be back on grass and that the clay court season is over. Photo: Petr David Josek, AP
Second-ranked Simona Halep is pushing Angelique Kerber for the top spot on the WTA rankings. Photo: Michel Euler, AP
Second-ranked Simona Halep is pushing Angelique Kerber for the top spot on the WTA rankings. Photo: Michel Euler, AP

EASTBOURNE – After dealing with injuries and a chronic lack of solid results, Angelique Kerber confirmed on Monday she finally feels fit again and keen to challenge at Eastbourne and Wimbledon.

The 29-year-old German remains locked in a battle to hold on to her top WTA status amid a pending challenge on the lawns from number two Simona Halep and Czech Karolina Pliskova, who stands third.

“I’m feeling good already,” said Kerber, top seed at the joint ATP-WTA event this week. Kerber will play her first match in the second round after a bye against Czech Kristyna Pliskova.

“I pulled out from Birmingham (last week) because I was not 100 percent, and I was feeling my leg a little bit.

“I had a lot of treatments and three or four days resting. Then I started practising again (in Mallorca). Now I’m feeling good. It’s nice to be playing again on the grass courts.”

Halep, losing Roland Garros finalist to young outsider Jelena Ostapenko, has her eyes set on seizing the number one ranking. One slip from Kerber and the Romanian could move closer into position with little more than 100 rankings points separating the top two.

The woman’s form guide for the final portion of the brief grass seasons remains anyone’s guess. 

Second-ranked Simona Halep is pushing Angelique Kerber for the top spot on the WTA rankings. Photo: Michel Euler, AP


Kerber said that has been the recent trend. “I think we saw it already in the last few weeks, few months. This is a challenge for everybody. 

“But I have learned that I really can only focus on me, and not think too much about all the other players and what they are doing. 

“I will just do my things and my schedule; my preparation, deal with my side of the court and focus on me.”

The German, who took the top spot from Serena Williams, knows she is under pressure from her rivals and needs to turn in a good tournament performance on the English south coast at this week’s joint ATP-WTA tune-up.

Kerber reached the Eastbourne final in 2012 and 2014.

“My goal is to have a lot of matches before Wimbledon. That’s why I decided to take the wildcard,” Kerber said. 

“I want to feel the grass again. I’m happy to be back on it, and I’m happy that the clay court season is already finished,” said the first-round French Open victim.

“I’m not thinking about my Wimbledon results. It’s still a long way. We are starting at zero this year. It’s a new year and it’s a different year.

“I’m thinking right now day by day, and having match by match. If I’m at Wimbledon, I will think about Wimbledon.”

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