Kerber embraces top ranking at Australian Open

Gearing up for her first-round contest against Lesia Tsurenko on Monday, Angelique Kerber said she is embracing life as the player to beat in the women's game.

Angelique Kerber

Despite a slippery start to the year, World No. 1 Angelique Kerber feels she's ready for the Australian Open.

From the hunter to the hunted, World No. 1 and defending champion Angelique Kerber is embracing the top ranking at the Australian Open.

Last year, Kerber upstaged Serena Williams in a stunning women's final to capture her first Grand Slam at Melbourne Park.

The German has gone to win the US Open and dethrone Williams as the Women's Tennis Association's top-ranked player, having also claimed a silver medal at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Gearing up for her first-round contest against Lesia Tsurenko on Monday, Kerber said she is embracing life as the player to beat in the women's game.

"It's a little bit different than last year. But I think also that I got used to it in the last few months. It's a new challenge for me, that's for sure," she told reporters.

"But it's a new tournament. We are starting from zero here. I have to be ready from the first round again. I will try to not putting too much expectation and pressure on myself. I will try to do it like last year. That was the way I had my success. I will try to continue that this year again."

Asked if she expects more from herself as the top seed, Kerber added: "I think it's the same feeling than when I won the Australian Open last year and I came to Paris and everything was new. Now that it's just I'm the number one. It's new as well, but I think the same situation.

"For me, I'm expecting the same what I was expecting the years before from me: going out there, trying my best, fighting till the last point. This is always how I'm playing, how I am. This will be not changing because this is why I'm here. This is what I'm expecting from me: just going out there and trying playing good because I know that I'm ready, I had a great pre-season, and this is for me everything what counts right now."

Kerber heads into the season's opening major with questions over her form.

After losing her second match at the Brisbane International, Kerber suffered a shock first-up loss to Darya Kasatkina in Sydney. Kerber, however, is unfazed about her form leading into the Australian Open.

"I was practicing and playing a lot of matches, points, during my practice here. I think it was good to being a little bit earlier here, to get used to everything, to do my stuff, all the things I have to do off and on the court," she said. "I'm not thinking now that I was not playing so well in the last two tournaments. I'm here to being ready again from the first round. This is all I'm looking for now."

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