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Thursday, May 26, 2022

“That’s not the worst thing in the world right now”

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For Angelique Kerber, tennis is simply not the most important thing in life right now. The former world number one left no doubt about it even after her knockout round in Indian Wells. The 34-year-old is too busy with the Russian-instigated war in Ukraine. “That’s just the topic of topics. Everything else is just second, fourth or fifth. It’s the same with tennis,” he said Tuesday (local time) after the 6:4, 2:6, 3:6 against Iga Swiatek from Poland.

In solidarity with Ukraine, Kerber returned to wearing a yellow and blue ribbon on her sunscreen on her head. “I just lost a tennis match and I don’t think he’s the worst thing in the world right now,” he said. Many people today have “existential problems and fears” and have to flee. “That’s amazing and it’s not that easy.”

Although he usually manages not to think about it in a game, “it would be a lie if I said I can completely hide it.” A thought like this always comes up. But there are simply more important things right now.”

Kerber is very worried about the situation. His grandparents live in Poland, when he is not in tournaments he lives in the neighboring country Ukraine. In the days before, she had repeatedly said how close she was to war.

Events in Russia also play a role in the medium-term planning: In April, the German team will visit Kazakhstan, one of Russia’s southern neighbors, to qualify for the Billie Jean King Cup. “I have included it in the planning, let’s put it that way. I think I will play,” Kerber said, but emphasized: “I will still keep an eye on the situation, Kazakhstan is not that good with everything that is happening at the moment.”

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Before the last week of November arrives, on April 15-16 at Nur-Sultan on Sand, Kerber still has to go to the WTA tournament in Miami, which starts next week. “No stress” she wanted to go from the west coast to the east coast of the US in the next few days.

Kerber then has at least the good feeling in his luggage that, after a rocky start to the year, he has racked up the first two tour wins and much-needed practice matches. “Of course you can imagine it better when you’re so close, but overall I’m satisfied.

I came in here with no expectations and I didn’t really know what my position was,” he said. Due to a corona infection in December, he was practically unable to work before the Australian Open and has been chasing a training buildup ever since. (dpa)

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