The 50 Greatest Players of a Open Era (W): No. 23, Angelique Kerber

Tennis has been remade over a final 5 decades by TV, money, technology, equipment, conform and politics. But by all of that, a players have remained during a heart of a game. As partial of a golden anniversary jubilee of a Open era, presents a list of 50 best players—the Top 25 group and a Top 25 women—of a final 50 years. You’ll be means to perspective a whole list in a March/April emanate of TENNIS Magazine.

(Note: Only singles formula were considered; any actor who won a vital pretension during a Open epoch had his or her whole career evaluated; all statistics are by a 2018 Australian Open.)

23. Angelique Kerber

Years played: 2003
Titles: 11
Major titles: 2 (2016 Australian Open, 2016 US Open)

Can a singular indicate spin a career, and tennis history, upside down? Ask Angelique Kerber. In 2016, a few days bashful of her 28th birthday, a German arrived during a Australian Open as a seventh seed. It had been 18 months given she had reached a second week during a major—the prior year, she had unsuccessful to get out of a third turn during any of them. When Kerber fell behind early and faced a compare indicate in her opening turn to Misaki Doi, it looked as if that strain of futility would continue. Few were surprised.

Just as few were astounded when Kerber saved that compare indicate and came behind to win. It was what came afterward—over a subsequent dual weeks in Melbourne and a subsequent 9 months everywhere else—that was a shock. Playing with zero to remove after her good escape, Kerber went on to kick Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams for her initial Grand Slam title. She followed that adult by reaching a Wimbledon final, winning a china award for Germany during a Rio Olympics, winning a US Open, and finishing a year No. 1.

Kerber’s remarkable climb was a surprise, and so was a proceed she done it happen. In new years, a majors on a women’s side have been a skill of a tour’s energy hitters; it helps to be means to blast past your nerves. But Kerber can’t do that; she’s a defensive-minded retriever who grinds her opponents down and wins with scrappy, scrambling athleticism and a kitchen-sink proceed to shotmaking. But she began 2016 dynamic to inject some offense into her game, and it paid off. Her lefty offer was some-more effective, and her point-changing down-the-line forehand was a shot of a year.

Unfortunately for Kerber, her 2017 was usually as intolerable as her 2016. She fell from No. 1 to 21 and unsuccessful to strech a quarterfinals during any major. Can she hasten and grub her proceed behind adult a towering again during 30? As Kerber knows improved than anyone, a turnaround usually takes one point.

Defining Moment: In Sep 2016, Kerber indispensable one some-more win to strech No. 1 for a initial time. But she was perplexing to get it in a tough place, a US Open final, opposite a tough opponent, Karolina Pliskova. The dual were sealed in a parsimonious third set when Kerber finished a stirring convene with her favorite shot, a down-the-line forehand that bending in for a winner, and sent her mountainous to a pretension and a tip of a rankings.

Watch: Highlights from Kerber’s noted 2016 season

Follow a men’s and women’s countdowns of The 50 Greatest Players of a Open Era via a month of Feb right here.

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