This’s just one more step for Angelique Kerber to make this a perfect US Open.
One more time onto the court to make this her coming out party, but even if it ends for her at in the Final, she can go home knowing she’s No. 1.
With Serena Williams losing tonight, the 28 year-old Kerber becomes the oldest player to first obtain No. 1 status and she is also the first German since Steffi Graf graced the courts back in the last 1980s.
“I was always dreaming when I was really young,” she said. “I remember the match also in Cincinnati where I have the chance to reach it with the win there. But after that I was just telling myself, Okay, I mean, I will get one more chance.
“Yeah, I get it now. It’s something really special. Yeah, I don’t know what to say, because I was just trying to focusing on this really tough match today against Caroline. I saw the match before also, Serena against (Karolina) Pliskova, so that was not so easy.
“Now after I can relax a little bit and try to enjoy, yeah, this special night today.”
It was a special two weeks for Kerber, who has come into her own this year. She won in Melborune and she was just the best player all season.
And she did it the old fashioned way. She got to work.
“Last year when I played a good year, I mean, I won four titles. I played — yeah, I was still in the top 10 at the end of the year,” Kerber said. “And then I sit down with my coach, and we said, Okay, what we have to improve? And I was trying to improving my game, being more aggressive, and not just playing from the defensive end.
“Yeah, when I won my first Grand Slam in Australia and we came back I had much more confidence. I had much more belief in my game, about my improvement. And then I was just trying to get used to this pressure, all the stuff what’s happen after Australia.
“I don’t know if I was like prepared for this, but I think I played amazing year. I mean, it’s my third Grand Slam final now in one year, so I just try to enjoy it. I just try to stay relaxed and just try to play like I’m playing the last few months.”
She will be playing Pliskova, a big server, who picked apart an injured Williams. It’s going to be an interesting match, but you have think Kerber will be the favorite. It’s going to be a different match than tonights against Caroline Wozniacki, who just runs you off the court.
Pliskova was able to show some movement on Serena tonight and also her long reach allowed her to get to a lot of balls. It’s something Kerber is not used to, which makes it a difficult task.
However, Kerber knows she has to be on the top of her game and said, “I think my serve have to be very good. I have to move good, as well, to bring a lot of balls back, and playing also more aggressive like I played in Cincinnati. I was just pushing too much the balls there, so I think I will change this a little bit. Go for it, being aggressive.”
And that’s her secret this year. She has been aggressive, which makes her the best player in the world. At the same time, she is also a very kind player, who was recognized by the USTA with the Sportsmanship Award, also won by Kei Nishikori on the men’s side.
“That means a lot, because I’m always trying to playing fair play,” Kerber said. “I mean, to get this trophy now, it means a lot, because, yeah, it shows me that, yeah, I know or I’m on a good way what I’m doing off and on court.”
So, she already has the hardware and the ranking. Now it’s time to finish the job. Take down Pliskova on Saturday and she will join the exclusive club that has won in Flushing Meadows.
Forever she will be known as a US Open Champion.
And if she does win, then will she take a celebratory swim in the East River, like she did in Yarrow River in Melbourne?
“No,” she said. “I think that was once and that was okay. Let’s see what we will do if I win it here, but I think we will just decide it when it’s happen.”
What whatever you want Angie, you will deserve it.