Wimbledon 2019

Wimbledon 2019: Champion Kerber begins defence, joined by Serena Williams, Muguruza, Kvitova and Sharapova

“Here you feel a completely different energy”

Angelique Kerber
Angelique Kerber (Photo: Getty Images for Nature Valley International)

Angelique Kerber has won more than 100 matches at Major level but it is probably fair to say that the 31-year-old German has got better with age.

She played her first Major matches back in 2007, but did not reach her first final until 2016, and then made three of them in the same year, winning in Australian and the US Open and making the final here at Wimbledon. And it took her to No1.

But the next year, she suffered a real dip as she came to terms with her new status, she lost confidence, and slipped out of Major contention, but she bounced right back last year to win her first Wimbledon title, and ended 2018 at world No2.

And while clay was its usual challenge for the German, she followed an early exit at Roland Garros this year with a good run on grass, the semis in Mallorca and the final in Eastbourne.

Talking of her return to Wimbledon, she spoke about the challenges of the place and surface:

“I think right now it’s really open, the draw. Of course, a lot of young players are coming. I think that Wimbledon is more, of course, like mentally [challenging], and experience-wise to play a lot of matches on grass… is completely different to the other surfaces.

“Here you feel a completely different energy. When you come here, you have pressure, the nerves are much higher than usual. I mean, also for me every year I’m coming back, I feel you’re getting nervous when you’re coming here. You really would like to play your best tennis. I think everyone is feeling the same.”

But she went on to talk about the emotions of the place for her:

“I think it’s completely different here because you’re coming back as a member the first time, so it’s really special for me. A lot of emotions and a lot of memories from last year, of course. Yeah, it’s nice to be back at this special place here for me. It’s a completely new year. Everything starts from zero… But of course trying to enjoying every moment on and off court.”

She opens against Tatjana Maria, ranked 65 and a semi-finalist on the grass of Nottingham: it will not be an entirely straight-forward test.

Elsewhere, the newest Major champion, current No1 Ashleigh Barty, who picked up her first big one at Roland Garros, gets play under way on Court 1, followed by the top-ranked British woman, Johanna Konta.

And there are other Wimbledon champions strewn through the day. Seven-time champion Serena Williams plays last on Centre Court, the unseeded Maria Sharapova features on Court 2, and Garbine Muguruza will play on Court 3, followed by two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

Centre Court and Court 1 begin at 1pm, all the other courts at 11am.

Centre Court 1pm

Tatjana Maria vs Angelique Kerber [5]

Lloyd Harris vs Roger Federer [2]

Serena Williams [11] vs Giulia Gatto-Monticone

Court 1 1pm

Ashleigh Barty [1] vs Saisai Zheng

Ana Bogdan vs Johanna Konta [19]

Yuichi Sugita vs Rafael Nadal [3]

Court 2 11am

Sloane Stephens [9] vs Timea Bacsinszky

Dominic Thiem [5] vs Sam Querrey

Maria Sharapova vs Pauline Parmentier

Casper Ruud vs John Isner [9]

Court 3 11am

Nick Kyrgios vs Jordan Thompson

Beatriz Haddad Maia vs Garbine Muguruza

Ons Jabeur vs Petra Kvitova [6]

Marin Cilic [13] vs Adrian Mannarino

Complete schedule can be found on the Wimbledon website.

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