Angelique Kerber tips Ashleigh Barty for continued success in 2020
Photo: Twitter

Former world number one Angelique Kerber has revealed her thoughts on current number one Ashleigh Barty ahead of the season-opening Brisbane International. 

The German will open her 2020 season against Samantha Stosur in Brisbane as she readies for the Australian Open, where she won in 2016.

Former world number one expresses opinion on current world number one

Kerber described by Barty by saying "she's always a tough opponent. She's such a great player, a great person as well and i'm really happy for her that she reached the number one spot."

She continued to compliment the reigning Roland Garros champion by stating "she put a lot of effort in and she worked hard. It's always a tougher year to start as the number one player but I think she will deal with that situation."

She concluded her thoughts on Barty by assessing the extra pressure of being Australian: "it's for sure completely different - she has all the pressure, all the expectation, especially here in Australia. 

"I know her and also her team, she played so well, and i'm really sure she'll continue to play how she played particularly at the end of last year."

Kerber discusses mindset ahead of Brisbane return

The three-time major champion discussed her own form, which has seen her alternate between years like 2016 and 2018, where she won three major titles combined and 2017 and 2019, where she was barely inside the Top 20.

Kerber practicing in Brisbane/Photo: Bradley Kanaris
Kerber practicing in Brisbane/Photo: Bradley Kanaris

"It's good, yes", she laughed when asked about a return to form on an even-numbered year. "I was really looking forward to 2019 being over and we are 2020 now so i'm really looking forward to starting again now.

"When I won Melbourne (in 2016) I also played very well here -- I made the final. Let's see what happens this year."

When asked about the differences in approach based on her ranking, Kerber stated "I was really trying to enjoy, but you really have to schedule your day a bit different than if you were #20 or #30 in the world.

"You have to improve in every single tournament, every year, because if you win a Grand Slam, everyone is looking to beat you. It's even harder to work to improve just a few things."

She said "it's about having the motivation again to start from zero, so it's harder than reaching the top spot (in the first place)."