Tennis - Doubt as opponent - Sport
Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev are in crisis before the US Open. The internal struggles challenge them in very different ways.
Recently there was a positive message about Angelique Kerber. It was about her finances. In the months from July 2018 to June 2019, she had earned 10.53 million euros; Prize money and advertising revenue were added. This placed her in third place in the ranking of women athletes with the highest merits, behind US-American Serena Williams (26.07 million) and Naomi Osaka from Japan (21.69). A message from the days before fit in: In Munich, Kerber was presented as a brand ambassador for a new sponsor, personal care. Manager Aljoscha Thron, 32, had some doubts because of his age when he took over responsibility for their business in October 2016, but he knows how to manage the money, that's for sure. He has marketed her sporting achievements well.
However, throne had no phase at this time as working basis as currently. Out of his winning player, adorned with three Grand Slam titles and number one in the tennis world for weeks, has become an athlete more vulnerable on the field than ever. Also in this week's tournament in Cincinnati Kerber was eliminated in their first match, they lost 6: 7, 2: 6 against the Estin Anett Kontaveit, on the remote Court number 10. The week before, she had just failed at the Russian Darja Kassatkina , In Wimbledon, in July, she lost as defending champion in the second round against the American Lauren Davis. Thus, in the days before the US Open in New York, the last of the four Grand Slam tournaments is pending, a picture that Kerber knew at times, which is unusual in the conglomeration of disappointments for them, since they with their triumph at the Australian Open 2016 in new dimensions. She actually has a crisis to overcome.
But at least she is not alone.
Even the best male German professional tennis player is in this downward spiral: Due to defeats, the self-confidence decreases, opponents feel the vulnerability, in between follow their own Mutmacherparolen, but the next defeat comes inevitably. So only the hope for a better future remains. For Kerber this sounded like this: "Up and down belong to me, to my story, to my career, I'm coming back stronger and stronger." Alexander Zverev said, "I've always said that this year's US Open is the tournament I want to break through." Striking in sports in general is that the more insecure athletes work, the higher goals are piled up.
Of course, the parallelism of Kerber's inner struggles, such as Zverev, is a coincidence, and yet there are similarities. The opponent of both is the doubt that even the best know well enough. Swiss rider Roger Federer, who won two match points against rival Novak Djokovic in a dramatic final at Wimbledon this year, has reminded Cincinnati of how disproportionately long such bankruptcies can nibble on a player compared to the short-term feeling of happiness that comes with them Trigger victories. Not without reason, the Spanish world class player Rafael Nadal has emphasized that his drive is doubt: am I as good as last time? Djokovic once said he wanted to be the best version of himself. In 2016, after four victories in the Grand Slam tournaments, he began to struggle in search of new goals, as if he had taken the armor of invincibility. With the motto "amor y paz", which his then coach Pepe Imaz called to him, Djokovic scored in the empathy rating. But not as a professional with a racket.
Tennis athletes, as individual athletes, are more prone to fluctuations in self-esteem. A footballer who has shot five penalties, the sixth time with multer feelings to the chalk point. "My self-confidence is just below zero," Zverev said at Wimbledon when he lost Jiri Vesely in the first round against Czechs. This is evident in his game, which has "not developed further," as his mentor Boris Becker, today as Head of Men's Tennis at the German Association DTB responsible for the men's area, while the French Open meant. He reminded, "You have to keep evolving, Roger Federer is different today than he was five years ago."
Becker is not the only one who has registered how much Zverev retreats to his "comfort zone" on the court - he's too far behind the baseline and too often waits to see what his opponent is doing. Recently, the 22-year-old added an almost grotesque impact weakness: he produced twenty double faults at the early end in Cincinnati against Serb Miomir Kecmanovic. In the past 18 matches, he has even had 153 double mistakes. The serve of the 1.98 meter tall athlete was always one of his weapons. On this beat can be read like a barometer, as it is about the inner constitution: It is the only stroke in tennis, which is not influenced by the opponent.
He commented openly on Zverev, who had risen quickly and crowned ATP World Champion in the fall of 2018, as a playful stagnant. So often that Becker advised him not to make everything public. With his former manager Patricio Apey he is in litigation, in love there was turbulence, his father was injured, his brother Mischa, ten years older and long a support, but now even father, nibelt. Zverev must swim more freely. Moreover, his coaching situation with Ivan Lendl as the second coach was a constant puzzle until it came to a break. Lendl, a former World Number One tennis player, would be more concerned with his dogs than with him, Zverev said; if an athlete deals with such thoughts, that is not a good sign.
Angelique Kerber's situation, on the other hand, seems more diffuse and generally less open, even though she admitted recently: "This time of the year feels different from the past years." She has registered that she is not the Kerber of the years 2016 to 2018. Only she also said, "But it is still the same journey." She has accepted the change of ups and downs "as part of my story as an athlete", a statement that on the one hand testifies to maturity. On the other hand, Kerber, 31, was always best when she did not accept something. She was always a defensive player. Before her victory at the Australian Open 2016, she had known: She did not want to be a good girl in the top ten! Why should not she win a major tournament? That's how it started then.
So now is August 2019 - and of course Angelique Kerber is also the Kerber of the years 2016 to 2018. She still quarrels as fast as before with her, if it does not work. She still has this remarkable beat, this backhand block, in the repertoire. Maybe it's like Zverev, maybe a further development would be necessary. For even in women's tennis a new, more fearless generation is emerging; more players dare to do more. The fact that Kerber has been experiencing a back and forth with her coaches for years, that she also separated herself from Wimbledon and Rainer Schüttler and now even travels around the world without a coach, certainly has something to do with the fact that she has very concrete ideas: The new coaches have "a lot of experience to bring, the right approach, passion, commitment, the same language as me," she said. She will not change too much, is to suspect. Her training base and her private base will remain in Poland, in Puszczykowo, where her grandparents own a tennis academy.
An interesting suggestion, however, was last dropped by Kerber when the topic touched on the finiteness of her career. At the core it was also about the word motivation. "I think the feeling will come sometime and that someday I'll find it's enough, or there's no more fire, maybe in five years, maybe four years," she said, closing the sentence with the Words: "Maybe sooner." Unlike Alexander Zverev, she can call herself Wimbledon Champion for life. This perspective makes you calmer.