Kerber ready for Qatar Open

"I'm feeling ready to play again," Angelique Kerber said ahead of the Qatar Open, where she will be the No. 1 seed. All eyes will focus, initially at least, on her as the 29-year-old looks to overcome the twin disappointments she suffered in Melbourne last month.

AngeliqueKerber

If Angelique Kerber wins this week in Doha and next week in the UAE at the Dubai Tennis Championships, she will regain the coveted No. 1 spot.   -  AP

Angelique Kerber said on Sunday she was ready to return to action as she prepared for her first competitive match since losing her Australian Open title and World No. 1 ranking. The German star is the No. 1 seed at this week's Qatar Open, a tournament which boasts five players from the world's top seven.

All eyes will focus, initially at least, on Kerber as the 29-year-old looks to overcome the twin disappointments she suffered in Melbourne last month. There she crashed out limply in the fourth round to Coco Vandeweghe and when Serena Williams claimed her seventh Australian Open title, the American also ensured Kerber fell to No. 2 in the rankings.

But ahead of her first match - most likely to be played on Tuesday - Kerber said there would be no after effects from the Australian Open. "I'm feeling ready to play again," she told reporters. "I'm feeling good. Of course, the first rounds are always a little bit tougher because you have to get used to the tournament feeling again, to the match things. But, yeah, I think that I'm ready. I really enjoy my tennis right now on the practice court - so, yeah, for me the tournament can start already."

Asked if she felt confident that she could regain her World No.1 ranking, Kerber replied: "I will do my best. If you play good tennis, then you have results. This is actually for me the most important thing, to win matches again, getting the confidence back, then we will see what happens."

Confident Cibulkova

If Kerber wins this week in Doha and next week in the UAE at the Dubai Tennis Championships, she will regain the coveted No. 1 spot from Williams. The first leg of that could prove very difficult. Last year she lost in the second round in Doha - after receiving a bye in the first, just like this year - in straight sets to China's Zheng Saisai.

And also playing this week in Doha are the World Nos. three, five, six and seven - Karolina Pliskova, Dominika Cibulkova, Agnieszka Radwanska and Garbine Muguruza. Slovakian Cibulkova said she was confident she could improve on her current best world ranking. "I'm 100 per cent convinced I can improve on the ranking," she told reporters, also on Sunday. "This is the mentality I need to have. I need to have the mentality I want to improve my ranking. I can see it go even further."

Like Kerber, Pliskova, Cibulkova and Radwanska have all received byes into the second round. One player not in Doha this week though is defending champion Carla Suarez Navarro who was a late withdrawal with a shoulder injury.

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