Despite some disappointing results of late, there is no doubt that world number four Angelique Kerber heads into Wimbledon as a real contender for the title, but will she be able to rise to the occasion?
Notable results to date
There is no doubt that Kerber stunned the tennis world in January, backing up her run to the final at the Brisbane International with an incredible run to the title at the Australian Open, beating Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals before outplaying Serena Williams in the key moments to secure a thrilling three set victory.
The title in Melbourne is not the only thing she has to shout about in 2016 though. The title in Melbourne secured a career-high of second, which she is just two spots off, and, on home soil, defending a title for the first time at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. Furthermore, strong runs to the semifinals at the Miami Open and Volvo Car Open in Charleston have also shown she can make the latter stages at tournaments.
However, the German has also had some disappointing losses in 2016. Following her triumph in Australia, Kerber lost her opening round matches in Doha and Indian Wells to Saisai Zheng and Denisa Allertova respectively, whilst a shoulder injury derailed her outdoor European clay court season, contributing to early losses in Madrid, Rome, and the French Open.
Best grass results leading to Wimbledon
Kerber went back to the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, where she won the title last season, to prepare her for Wimbledon.
Her two wins in Birmingham were not easy, with the several rain delays not making matters easier for anyone, though she overcame Peng Shuai in the opening round and impressed in the final two sets as she saw off Daria Gavrilova from a set down. However, the German suffered a surprise defeat in the last eight to Carla Suarez Navarro, in a tight match.
Surprisingly, Kerber will not enter the Aegon International in Eastbourne this year. The German has been a regular at the popular event and has twice reached the final in the past.
Best Wimbledon result
The world number four’s best result at Wimbledon came in 2012 where, as the eighth seed, she reached the semifinals.
Kerber didn’t drop a set in her first four matches, destroying Kim Clijsters in the fourth round for the loss of just two games, and then battled past good friend, and fellow German, Sabine Lisicki in a classic last eight match, prevailing 7-5 in the third set.
The end of the road for Kerber was in the last four, where she was simply outplayed by 3rd seed Agnieszka Radwanska in a straight sets loss.
The German suffered an early loss at Wimbledon last year, losing to eventual runner-up Garbine Muguruza, but also made the last eight in 2014, showing she can play well at SW19.
How Kerber’s game translates to the surface
Grass is the fastest surface in tennis, which means that players find it easier to attack on its surface. Whilst Kerber is good at attacking, meaning she can benefit from this, one of the biggest strengths of her game is her defence, which simply has to be strong if you want to win titles on grass. This is why she has had success on grass in the past, and it will need to be very strong this year as she looks to take the title.
Furthermore, grass can also play into Kerber’s main weakness; her second serve. This has improved lately, and the fact that this will go slightly quicker on the grass should mean that this is not as easy for her opponents to attack.