Angelique Kerber has not stopped smiling since sealing her maiden grand-slam triumph in Melbourne last month.
The German defeated world number one Serena Williams in the Australian Open final, and is aware that her status as a grand-slam champion will put a target on her back as she returns to the WTA Tour at the Qatar Open on Tuesday.
“That was one of the biggest moments in my career and of course a lot more people recognise me now in the streets and there has been a lot more media interest after the win, but I think I am still the same person that I was before the Australian Open, which is good for me. A lot of things have changed actually,” Kerber said.
“You know, right now I will try again to focus on my tennis on the court at every single tournament and will try to improve my tennis – that is my next goal, along with the upcoming challenges I have on court against tough opponents. But of course, nobody can take this moment away from me now.
“I can say that I am a grand-slam champion forever and that is something I dreamt about when I was a kid. It’s also what makes me a little bit relaxed I think.
“Everybody will now go on court against me and try to play their best tennis, but I’m looking forward to challenging my opponents. They are also tough, great players that are playing on the tour so it will be nice to have this experience now.
“I’m focusing and I’m feeling good, I arrived here on Thursday night, so I have had a few days to practice well and I am looking forward to playing my next match after my biggest ever win in Australia, trying to play good tennis again and trying to win a lot of matches.”
Top seed Kerber takes on Saisai Zheng in the second round after a bye in the first round.
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