Lack of fitness, lack of confidence, blueprint for missing matches, missing coach – Angelique Kerber is just a shadow of her own, and is also the US Open for the former No. 1 tennis team after the opening round. The next big disappointment is for the 31-year-old, who finished 14th in the world rankings.
Opening defeat against Mladenovic
In a game marked by many mistakes on both sides, Kerber never found her rhythm. Mladenovic changed tempo and kicks, letting go of stops and moons balls over and over, never letting Kerber play his beloved counter-game.
At crucial stages her nerves also blew. In the first set Kerber conceded a break with a score of 5: 6. Despite three break balls in the next service match, the French could not prevent the set defeat.
The opponent can be treated on the back
In the second set Kerber quickly draws to 3: 0. Mladenovic took a medical break and was treated for a few minutes. The 26-year-old then barely made his way around the pitch and poured a pass – to go straight from the break in the third set.
He rejoined Kerber, made the re-break at 3: 3 and seemed to be measured, their game now more aggressive. But then, at 4: 4, suddenly nothing happened. "Angie" first lost her service – and then the match.
"If you didn't drop a penny, then when?", Tennis legend Boris Becker expected at Eurosport with Kerber, who gave her trainer Rainer's shaker after the Wimbledon disaster. "She wouldn't lose a game with a coach," added Barbara Rittner, head of the women's section of the German Tennis Federation.
Kerber has responded with the same defiance in recent weeks. "I don't let anyone put pressure on me," she replied, "The key I lost is not having a coach."