Angelique Kerber is the first big casualty at the 2021 Australian Open. The former champion here in Melbourne is convinced that the hard quarantine she had to endure is largely to blame for her loss.
The 23rd-seeded Kerber lost the first nine games of her encounter with American Bernarda Pera on Day 1. Midway through the second set Kerber finally found her rhythm and even had break points for 5-all, but the unseeded Pera fought off that late challenge and triumphed 6-0 6-4.
After the match, the former world No.1 Kerber said that her 14-day confinement to a hotel room definitely hampered her preparation for the Australian Open. Pera, on the other hand, wasn’t among the 72 unlucky players who served a hard lockdown.
Even though Kerber tried to stay positive during the quarantine, the fact that she wasn’t allowed to train outside and hit balls negatively affected her rhythm and downgraded her form. From this perspective, Kerber wonders whether it was even worth it coming to Melbourne, even though she loves the Australian Open.
At the post-match press conference, the 2016 champion Kerber said she would “maybe think twice” about traveling to Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her decision could have been different had she known about all the restrictions awaiting her. Still, Kerber praised Australia for their excellent management of this difficult situation and also said that she had never seen Pera play so well.