Fancy gowns, fluffy pillows and a fierce desire to win

Updated: 2012-10-05 07:26

(China Daily)

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Editor's note: During the China Open, China Daily will collaborate with the WTA to bring you columns from various women's players in an effort to provide insight into life on the tour.

Guten tag, alles (that's "hello everybody" in German)!

I am Angelique Kerber of Germany.

This is my third time playing in the China Open, but I think I'm still an unfamiliar face for most Chinese fans, so let me introduce myself.

I was born in Germany, with Polish ancestry. My parents live in Germany with me, but the rest of the family, including my grandparents, are in Poland. So, I travel between the two countries quite a bit.

I keep in close contact with the German players, but still have a good relationship with some of the Polish girls, such as Agnieszka Radwanska.

Fancy gowns, fluffy pillows and a fierce desire to win

It was great that I could meet up with them all at the player party on Monday night. The best part of the banquet was dressing up and not talking about tennis at all. We actually talked about where we go for holidays.

It was also nice to have a chance to wear some formal evening dresses - not just shorts and T-shirts. I am not the kind of person who needs to do it every day, so I sort of enjoy the feeling.

Playing in Beijing gives me a chance to go sightseeing, which I love to do when I'm touring around the world.

Here in Beijing, the Great Wall is definitely the most-recommended spot for any visitor. I went two years ago, and it was amazing. I can't believe somebody was able to build it hundreds of years ago. I also told my coach to go see it.

I also like communicating with fans via my blog, Twitter and Facebook in my spare time because the fans are so important. Showing them my feelings, and what I do off the court, is fun. I try to update every day, but I normally do it three or four times a week.

This has been one of the best seasons in my career. I won my two WTA titles - in Paris and Copenhagen - reached the quarterfinals at the French Open and the semifinals at Wimbledon, and beat some top players, including Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova.

Now, I am ranked in the top 10, and it's amazing. I already feel like a different player. I improved my fitness a lot. I am fine to play five matches in a row now. Last year, I felt like I was dead if I played two. Mentally, I am also stronger. I can always focus on the next point without thinking about the last shot. Everything is in control.

Every player has an idol growing up, and mine was Steffi Graf. She's German, she won everything you can and she is a nice person. Her prime was before my time, but I enjoy watching her matches on YouTube.

In closing, let me tell you a secret. I take my pillow everywhere with me when I'm traveling around the world. It makes me comfortable, like I'm at home everywhere I go. I also wear a bracelet, which my grandparents gave me, as lucky charm. I believe it blesses me at every tournament.

Angelique Kerber is the current world No 6. She reached the semifinals at last year's US Open and this year's Wimbledon.

(China Daily 10/05/2012 page12)