Former world No.1 Angelique Kerber admits she would have thought twice before competing this year open from Australia if she had known the two weeks of strict quarantine she would be forced to endure.
Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open champion, was ruled out of the draw in a stunning first-round reversal, a heavy 6-0 6-3 loss to American Bernarda Pera, whose best result in a Grand Slam is a third round appearance.
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Pera, ranked 149th in the world, avoided the harsh quarantine treatment Kerber had to undergo, which the German star says played a role in today’s loss. Kerber was forced to self-isolate in her hotel room for two weeks upon arriving in Melbourne after a passenger on her plane returned a positive COVID-19 test.
Despite the setback, she still played in three preparation matches in Melbourne ahead of today’s clash with Pera, but the 33-year-old said she didn’t “feel the rhythm” she had before leave for Australia.
“Definitely (it had an impact), yes,” Kerber told reporters after the game.
“I mean, sure, I was really trying to stay positive and do my best during this two week situation.
“But, of course, you feel it, especially if you play a real game where it counts and play the first few matches of a Grand Slam, also against an opponent who doesn’t stay in the hard lockdown.
“I felt that at first, of course my balls were still sticking out a bit and I wasn’t feeling the pace I was before the two weeks, to be honest. Sure, I mean.
“But what can I do? I did my best. Of course you feel it if you haven’t hit the ball for two weeks and you’re not in the rhythm.”
Kerber applauded Australia’s fight with COVID-19 but admitted she would have reconsidered coming here if she had known she would face a harsh quarantine period.
“First of all, I mean Australia is doing a really good job,” she added.
“Now when you’re free you go outside, everything is open. Of course, it looks like normal life, let’s say.
“But when I look back, of course, the two-week hard quarantine was not expected.
“I don’t know, maybe if I knew that before I was really quarantined for two weeks without hitting a bullet, maybe I would think twice.”
“But I was also trying to get motivation for this tournament because it is one of my favorite tournaments.
“Of course I knew we were playing with a little bit of fans, which is always so different from playing without fans.
“It makes tennis a lot more fun to play there. So that was my motivation.
“But, of course, if I knew the real situation before my trip, I might think twice about coming here.”
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