Angelique Kerber is a professional tennis player from Kiel,Germany. She reached the Top10 for the first time in 2012 and also made it to the 2012 Wimbledon semi-finals!
Kerber Doesn’t Miss Much And Can Hit Powerful Winners From The Baseline
Kerber grew up in a tennis family. Her father was her coach for a long time and her grandfather also operates a tennis centre in Poland. She had a solid but not spectacular junior career, reaching a career high junior ranking of number 37 in 2004.
It took her many years to really breakthrough at the professional level. She finished the year inside the Top50 of the world for the first time in 2010.
Her big breakthrough came at the end of 2011 though when she reached the semi-finals of the US Open as an unseeded player.
She attributed a lot of her success to an increased fitness level and a better work ethic. In 2012 she continues to play high level Tennis and entered the Top10 for the first time in her career. Another highlight followed at the 2012 Wimbledon championships where she reached the semi-finals and lost to Agnieszka Radwanska
Kerber has excellent groundstrokes and plays a powerful baseline game. Let’s break down her game in detail!
The forehand is Kerber’s best shot. She likes to dictate points with this shot and can hit it with a lot of variety!
Her forehand motion is short and compact which results in a very reliable forehand where not much can go wrong!
The grip is rather conservative and as a result she tends to hit the ball rather flat. Her down the line forehand is probably her biggest weapon!
Like so many women she could make better use of the forearm muscles and the stretch shortening cycle to add even more power to this great shot!
Angelique Kerber’s backhand is a very solid shot. She has good grips and starts the motion with a great upper body turn. You can really see the kinetic chain at work here when she unwinds from the ground up into the shot
Check Out Kerber’s Short Compact Groundstrokes In This Rally!
Angelique uses the slice backhand every now and then on low balls that land rather short and in defensive situations. She hits a pretty good slice in those situations, keeping it rather low, and oftentimes she follows it up to the net against short balls as well.
Angelique Kerber is not afraid to follow short balls up to the net even though she is not a great net player. She does a good job finishing off points with topspin volleys and putting easy volleys away but she struggles once she has to hit more difficult volleys.
Her volleys tend to float and especially on her forehand volley the racket moves downward way too much!
The serve is Kerber’s biggest weakness. She lacks certain key body positions and her second serve can be a major liability!
She still benefits from the fact that she is left handed, which somehow allows her to cover up this weakness.
Unfortunately, I was not able to find any slow motion video of her serve on youtube. If you watch the highlights from this match against Petra Kvitova, you will see how Kvitova punishes that weak serve over and over though. Just keep in mind that in the video Kerber is wearing the orange dress since Kvitova is also a left-hander and some of you might get confused!
From a technical standpoint, Kerber opens up the upper body too early and is too frontal when she contacts the ball. She also doesn’t turn away from the target as she begins her backswing. I would have to see some slow motion for a more detailed analysis though!
Kerber plays a powerful baseline game and is at her best when she dictates points with her forehand. She also has good touch around the net and can hit some nice drop shots!
Check Out This Amazing Drop Shot
Being a left-hander also helps Angelique a lot. She oftentimes opens up the court with her forehand to the opponents backhand in order to then finish the point with her flat forehand down the line.
Attacking seconds serves with her flat forehand is another successful strategy of hers. When the opponent hits short she is usually not afraid to go to the net either.
Her weak serve makes it very difficult for her to dominate points from the beginning though and as a result she ends up on defense too often against the absolute top players!
Additionally, she tends to get on defense a lot when returning which could be because of her limited reach as well.
On defense she displays great counter-punching skills and hits very good passing shots because he is so stable and powerful in those situations!
Overall, I think she plays a smart tactical game but to take the next step forward she needs to be even more aggressive and take control of those baseline rallies a little bit earlier!
Have A Look At These Highlights Against Sharapova
As you can see Kerber is on defense a lot more than Sharapova and in order to beat these kinds of players Kerber needs to find a way to be more aggressive!
Angelique Kerber is in excellent shape these days. She has very powerful legs and manages to be extremely stable in defensive situations. She gets in and out of the corners extremely well because of her incredible leg strength and overall I think she has great natural athletic ability.
A lot of her recent success has been attributed to an improved fitness level and her new training routine at the Schüttler-Waske Tennis Academy in Frankfurt, Germany!
Possibly she didn’t work quite as hard earlier in her career and this has made all the difference for her!
Overall Kerber appears to be a tough competitor and someone that rises to the occasion. She absolutely fights for every ball and also often shows positive body language by fist-pumping frequently in important matches.
At times she also gets a bit too negative in my opinion as we could see in the Wimbledon semi-finals against Sabine Lisicki. Nevertheless, it appears as if she never gives up fighting and believing in herself and therefore the effects of the occasional negativity are not nearly as bad for her as for some other players.
Another thing to note is that she does not seem to have a lot of fear on the court which is a unique trait. She is not afraid to follow up to the net or hit overheads for example even though these shots are certainly not her strengths.
Power and movement are her biggest assets in my opinion. Even though she has good groundstrokes, her biggest weakness lies on the technical side with her weak serve!
In order to take the next step there is no way around improving her serve mechanics!
The serve is a major liability and players like Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, and Petra Kvitova will constantly punish that second serve! Nevertheless, I think it is unlikely that she will do any kind of major technical work on her serve since she is quite successful at the moment.
Overall, I expect Kerber to remain a Top10 player for the next couple of years because she is fit, seems hungry for more success and has very solid groundstrokes.
I don’t however think that she will become a real grand slam contender because there will always be one player from the Sharapova, Williams, Azarenka, Kvitova group that will be in good form and totally punish her weak serves!
It’s really tough if not impossible to beat the absolute top players when you are on defense too often and Kerber needs to find a way to play more offense against these players. This of course starts with the serve but she could also play slightly more aggressive during baseline rallies against these players!