Rankings

Kerber- The Ultimate Late Bloomer

Angelique Kerber has come a long way in a very short time.

Heading into the 2011 US Open, this German machine was just inside the top 100, but she sprung on to the big stage with a run to the semis at Flushing Meadows, losing only to the great Serena Williams.

Prior to that surprise run, Kerber had not gone beyond the first week at any Slam. Indeed, she was on a terrible run of three successive first round exits before her unexpected exploits in New York.

She backed that up with an appearance at the 2012 Wimbledon semis, after which she struggled to make a telling impact at the deep end of the big ones.

On a tour dominated by big-hitters, Kerber’s honest counter-punching style was only good enough for the early rounds at majors.

Angelique Kerber had developed into a hard-grafting top-tenner, but she was rarely perceived as a genuine Grand Slam contender.

Her backhand is a solid shot, but the forehand isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing offering, and her serve is equally unremarkable.

She however makes up for that deficiency with supreme fitness, scampering across the court to retrieve seemingly lost courses, and flummoxing opponents with what has become the best transition game in the business.

And it all came together in 2016.

When Kerber followed up her Australian Open triumph with a meek first round surrender at Roland Garros, we feared she could be one of those one-Slam wonders, but all fears have since been allayed with a runner-up finish at Wimbledon, and that superb surge to US Open title.

The new number one is here to stay.

Kerber could have got that number one ranking as early as the week before the US Open, but she missed her chance after falling to Karolina Pliskova in the Cincinnati final.

That disappointment could have derailed the leftie at Flushing Meadows, but in a testament to her new-found mental strength, the German blocked out that near miss, and went about her US Open business with a single-minded focus on the job at hand.

And what a job she did.

At 28, Kerber isn’t the youngest anymore, but she has already defied that number to achieve her childhood dreams.

She always wanted to be number one; she has become number one- the oldest player to attain that status.

She can also take inspiration from the woman she just usurped on top of the world rankings.

Half of Serena Williams’ 22 majors have come after the age of 28.

It is extremely unlikely that Kerber gets anywhere near Serena’s post-28 numbers, but there is enough time for Angie to make an even bigger impression on this tour.

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