Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon 2019: below her expectations
At the start of the match against Lauren Davis it did not look like a defeat for Angelique Kerber.
The 1.56 meter tall Davis had slipped early in the second round match - it seemed Kerber's progress was just a formality. But a bandage on Davis' left foot and 136 rallies later Kerber defeat was fixed. Their Wimbledon title defense has thus already failed in the second round, the next surprise of this year's lawn classic in London.
Kerber is not alone, as is the Wimbledon winner of 2017, Garbiñe Muguruza, and world ranked second-placed Naomi Osaka have already been knocked out. Although this is not a sensation given the enormous power density in the women's field, it is nevertheless surprising. Also the men's tableau has been stirred up with the defeats of prominent players such as Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem or Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Every place is unique
It is clear that lawn tennis, despite all the adjustments made over the last two decades, still follows its own laws. Because no place plays like the other. Even in the tennis park Wimbledon not, where actually every detail of the standard corresponds. Again, there are some amazing differences between the places.
The pros often report during these first Wimbledon days how much the speed can vary between two courts, which are less than 200 meters apart. A shorter mowing or the duration of the sun radiation are there to decisive factors. Kerber, who prefers quick toppings, did not want the slow second place to be an excuse for defeat.
As it turned out, Kerber is still one of the best counter-players in tennis. The 31-year-old had won her title at Wimbledon a year ago with an improved serve and accurate returns. The long, often spectacular rallies in 2018 were just the tasty side dish - and not, as on Thursday, the main ingredient.
Kerber had found amazing angles for their quick attacks in the successful pre-season tournaments in Mallorca and Eastbourne, but on Thursday she often remained passive. It is the old dilemma in Kerber's career that she is struggling with again this year. Dominant phases are followed by those in which she uses her outstanding athleticism only to manage the blows of the opponents.
The third sentence is Kerber's weakness
So it does not really work right now, even if Kerber is a long way from a crash like in 2017. At that time, she had started the year as number one in the world and had badly stumbled. But one thing stands out. Kerber has lost twelve times this year, seven of them in three sets. In five of the seven defeats she gave the last set with 0: 6 or 1: 6. Also against Lauren Davis the decisive passage was lost with 1: 6.
Her early Wimbledon-Aus explained Kerber with lack of energy, deeper into the analysis, they did not want to go on demand. The previous season summed up Kerber with the sentence: "It was a first half year, which you could have played better in any case, but still with many experiences." These experiences include now also a failed Wimbledon title defense.
This raises the question of where Kerber, which has meanwhile achieved almost everything in tennis, actually goes in the medium and long term. What are your goals? Since the 31-year-old had an answer: In the big tournaments she still wants to win. Just as Kerber has recovered from disappointment in the past, this is quite conceivable.